- Created on Monday, 10 December 2012 15:42
- Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 07:51
- Written by David Rountree
Recently Stephen Jackson received a fine from the NBA for his Twitter comments about Thunder center Serge Ibaka. Jackson basically threatened to punch Ibaka if words were exchanged at the next game between the two, a threat that cost him twenty-five thousand dollars.
The Spurs released a statement saying that Jackson’s comments were unacceptable and would not be tolerated. Their reaction lives up to the Spurs organization’s image but the truth is Jackson’s attitude is an asset to the team.
The Spurs have a team filled with high-character players but some lack the mental toughness needed for an extensive playoff run. This was obvious once things got highly competitive last year in the Western Conference Finals—Jackson was one of the only role players to show up late in games.
Several Spurs locked up in games when things got tight, the three-point specialists were nowhere to be found. Jackson on the other hand got better when the games got tougher, nailing threes and fighting hard for rebounds.
If the Spurs plan on winning a championship they will need that mental toughness he brings to the table. The role of the strong “quiet type” has already been overfilled; they need Jackson to be who he is. Similar to the former Spur champion Mario Elie, he is a motivator for those on the team who have trouble motivating themselves.
Before his injury Jackson started off the year well, rebounding the ball at a higher rate. This is something the Spurs desperately need at the small forward position. This is when his toughness and fieriness is needed most, especially when he is battling taller players like a Serge Ibaka in the paint. He has also scored when asked too and has taken on difficult defensive assignments willingly.
Jackson is a beloved teammate on the Spurs and he has been on his best behavior since coming back to the team last season. His passion has its disadvantages but he has done a good job lately finding the balance between anger and serenity on the court.