Ex-guard recalls Sacramento Kings days, fight with Tracy McGrady


bobby-jackson-retiredFormer NBA player Bobby Jackson has recently appeared on the KHTK Radio Show, where he recalled his NBA career, his former teammates and his personal approach to the game.

“When I played off the bench I also always wanted to start the game. That’s just the competitive part of a basketball player. You want to be a starter, who likes sitting on the bench? At the end of the day, we just might be the best athletes in the world, because we don’t settle for certain situations,” Jackson said.

“The coach used to tell me that I can come off the bench and still put the team over the top,” he said.

Further, Jackson said that for a point guard in the NBA it is important to get your teammates involved in the game.

“To be a great point guard in this league, you have to get your teammates involved first. My coaches always used to tell me – how your point guard goes, that’s how your team goes,” he recalled.

rick-adelman-bobby-jacksonCoach Rick Adelman

Speaking about his coach in Sacramento, Rick Adelman, Jackson said he respected Adelman as a coach and liked playing under him.

“He helped my game tremendously. When I first came in, I was a hot head, just from Denver and I had a bad reputation because I was that competitive, and I wanted to play,” Jackson said. “He taught me to be more professional.”

“He didn’t yell, and I was used to coaches that used to scream and yell. Adelman gave me the freedom to go out and play basketball,” Jackson noted.

“Most younger guys like to pound it, pound it, and older guys swing it, pass it around and get open shots. I liked that concept of a team that moves the ball around, instead of sticking to one side of the floor. We made it look easy, and we believed in Adelman’s philosophy,” Jackson noted.

Adelman coached the Sacramento Kings right into the 2002 Western Conference Finals, where they faced the LA Lakers. The Kings lost the series 4-3.

“It’s all about being a competitor at the highest level. We didn’t hate the Lakers, we just didn’t like them,” Jackson said of the 2002 series. “They knew we weren’t going to back down. We approached the challenged, and they just were the better team.”

sacramento-kingsSacramento Kings and best teammate

Jackson was asked about his days with the Sacramento Kings, where he played for 6 seasons, appearing in 365 games. He averaged career high 15.2 ppg for Sacramento during the 2002-03 NBA season.

“I think Chris Webber was pissed when they brought me in and traded Tony Delk. He thought I couldn’t score,” Jackson recalled, adding that although Webber did change his mind soon.

Speaking of the best teammate he ever played with, Jackson didn’t hesitate to name one.

“Vlade (Divac), of all people. He’s probably the ultimate teammate. I still get along with everyone, but his approach to the game, and to life was fantastic, he wasn’t ever mad or sad about anything. He was very respectful. He approached the game and his teammates as a professional. He kept us all together. He was so unselfish,” Jackson recalled.

When the Kings got their leading players struck with injuries, others had to step in, and Jackson said they proved to be valuable assets to the team.

“When Webber got hurt and Brad Miller stepped in, he was even more unselfish than Vlade. Him and Vlade weren’t as athletic as Webber, but they did the little things and carried us. Then Scot (Pollard) and Keon (Clark) came in, and they made us better as guards,” Jackson recalled.

“We had a great team at the time. Even when Mike (Bibby), Webber and Peja (Stojakovic) went down, we still had guys who could come off the bench and step in easily,” he said.

“I don’t think I ever played on a better team. I’ve never been on a team that was so close to winning championship, that had such chemistry on and off the floor. In Sacramento it didn’t matter who will score, everyone just wanted to win. We played team basketball and we made each other better,” Jackson said.

When Jackson got traded to the Houston Rockets, he found a new teammate that was similar to Vlade Divac in Sacramento.

“Dikembe Mutombo. He was Vlade. You couldn’t understand what he was saying, but he was very humble, a great teammate,” Jackson said.

jackson-mcgradyFight with Tracy McGrady

In 2001, when Tracy McGrady was on the Orlando Magic and Bobby Jackson played for Sacramento, the two got into a nasty brawl on Orlando’s home court. McGrady hit Jackson in the face with the ball in the final minute of overtime, triggering a fistfight that overshadowed the Kings’ 114-108 victory over the Magic that night.

McGrady was about to shoot, when Jackson slapped at the ball and hit his wrist. McGrady then bounced the ball off Jackson’s head, and Jackson followed by shoving McGrady with both hands in the chest. McGrady immediately tackled Jackson, and the two began to wrestle on the floor before teammates, coaches and officials could break up the fight.

“He threw the ball and it hit me in the face,” Jackson said at the time. “I don’t know who he thinks I am, but I won’t stand for that. He got a little carried away. I won’t take that from anybody.”

“That was my birthday,” Jackson recalled at the KHTK Radio Show. “I also remember someone throwing beer at me.”

“I play ball, but don’t disrespect me. So when he threw ball in my face, that was pretty disrespectful. I don’t care how tall you are, but if you disrespect me, I might fight you,” Jackson said.

Former NBA guard noted that it was all forgotten later.

“We later laughed about it. We were both young. McGrady said that in that situation most guys wouldn’t respond, but I did.”

Bobby Jackson played in total of 755 NBA games (143 started), holding career averages of 9.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg and 2.6 apg in 22.2 mpg.

More on the interview: Bobby Jackson: I worked out for 15 NBA teams, none of them drafted me

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