In a recent interview with ProSportsExtra.com, San Antonio Spurs' Stephen Jackson keeps showing us how much of a difference one player's attitude can mean to a team and these two answers say a lot about him.
What were your goals coming into this season?Jackson: I just wanted to become a better player, but most importantly a better teammate.In game 6 of the 2003 NBA finals, you hit back to back three pointers that changed the whole momentum to your team’s favor. How did it feel to do that against the team that cut you prior to your first tenure with the Spurs?Jackson: It felt sweet because of the fact that I did it against the team that didn’t believe in me.
With Jackson earning $10 million this final year of his contract, it'd be easy for him to demand an extension and play selfishly to inflate his worth for more money next year. He knows what that can do to a team and is putting being a good teammate first. While the Spurs are relatively a young team with a veteran Big 3, Jackson's demeanor this year helps with the locker room morale and helps the team stay away from drama that could break them apart. This is especially important with young players like Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, who are playing to Jackson's mentality on defense.
The second answer is important also because we know what kind of player he is — cool headed in tough situations with ice in his veins. We've seen many players crumble under pressure and seen sharpshooting clutch players play timid or tried too hard against teams that they were formerly with. Jackson has shown us that he's ready for that situation, even in his early days in the NBA. He's older and wiser from years past, but he's the same "Captain Jack" we've seen before and that's hard to replace.