Reggie Jackson has always wanted to be empowered. Who doesn’t? But it could still be said at the outset that his career revolved around fighting for that seemingly inaccessible belief system.
Before his fourth season in the NBA, which was also his first with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Jackson wanted to start. The problem was that he had a backup of a guy named Russell Westbrook – you may have heard of him.
“I don’t plan on ever leaving the bench for any team,” he said, as stated by Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman:
“If it’s the role I put in, it’s what I put in. But from the day I thought about playing in the NBA, I’ve always been a beginner. All I thought about, was high school, high school, law classes for kids, I never planned to get off the bench.
“For some people (starting is) important. To others, it’s not. It is very prideful for me. I feel like I’m very talented. I think I can lead a team. It’s just how I’ve grown up, and that’s how I’ve always felt. I want to be the guy in charge. I want to be the type who leads the team. The head of the snake. “
Then teammate Steven Adams wrote in his autobiography that his fellow Thunder, who famously froze Jackson out of offense in a game earlier this season, he wanted him to leave the expiration of the trade; and added, “When he was finally traded with the Detroit Pistons, we forgot about it pretty soon because we had new guys to welcome into the team.”
And, in Detroit, this time after his five-year extension, $ 80 million signed with the Pistons before the 2015-16 season, he faced some of the same challenges – but as a focal point on a losing team always.
Jackson was bought in February 2020 after playing just 14 games with the Pistons in the final year of his contract, signing with the Los Angeles Clippers, and becoming his most important goalie during the playoffs just 16 months later. .
As in, now.
Mr. June did it again last night, and you can convincingly argue that it has never been better and has never been so crucial for a team. During those playoffs, in which he started in 14 of his 16 appearances, Jackson averaged 17.6 points, and 3.3 assists per game in 51/42/88 shooting games. In his 14 starts, those averages improved to 18.9 points and 3.6 assists in a 52/44/87 split, with the Clippers setting a 9-5 record.
There were the 25 points, nine rebounds, and four assists to help Kawhi Leonard keep the Clippers season 5 in Game 5 against the Dallas Mavericks in Round 1. There was his 27 points, and 10 assists on the 10-of-16 shot during Game 6 night against the Utah Jazz in the semifinals. And, last night, to help keep the Clippers alive as they fell 2-0 to the Phoenix Suns, they added 23 points and three assists on 53 percent shooting from the field and 38 percent from three. 10 of those 23 came in the fourth quarter at a four-minute interval. (Paul George led the way for the Clippers without Leonard, recording 27 points, 15 rebounds, and eight assists in the 106-92 victory).
For StatMuse, the guardian combo born in Italy he is now one of two players in NBA history to have an average of three or more triples made on the 65 percent true shooting during a single playoff run of 15 games or more. The other is Steph Curry from four years ago, The second Golden State Warriors championship.
After the game, Jackson said he felt empowered by the Clippers organization, which offered him the opportunity after embarrassingly falling 2-0 to the Mavericks, both lost at their Los Angeles home. Few things in the sport are better than role players subjected to out-of-body experiences during the playoffs, but for Jackson, it’s beyond that. It defines career while in the one year veteran-minimum contract. It came from apparently whenever the Clippers needed it most. And, on top of that, it’s what he’s always wanted.