Jackson Just Can't Stop Being A Punk
By Randy Renner, Senior Writer
If you didn’t already know it there’s no doubt now after what happened at the end of the Thunder’s 88-82 loss in Detroit, former Thunder backup point guard Reggie Jackson is a punk.
There, I said it. Want me to do it again? Okay.
Reggie. Jackson. Is. A. PUNK.
And I never would have guessed he would turn into that when I first met him in the early summer of 2011. He’d just been picked 24th overall by the Thunder and he was being introduced to media and fans at Oklahoma City’s Boys and Girls Club.
Seemed like a great kid. Showed up wearing a bow tie and talked about how thankful he was for the opportunity to live a dream and play on a team with two of the biggest stars in the game.
As time went on though Jackson began to feel slighted by the Thunder. He couldn’t seem to move up in the pecking order. Started as the third team point guard, finally moved up to the backup roll but no matter how hard he tried he just couldn’t convince then head coach Scott Brooks to start him.
Brooks after all already had a pretty good starting point guard, Russell Westbrook. Perhaps you’ve heard of him.
No matter. Jackson constantly talked about his desire to be the starter, if not in OKC then somewhere else. Even wrote the letters SPG (starting point guard) on his sneakers for crying out loud.
When it became clear to Reggie that he couldn’t change Brooks’ or Thunder management’s opinion that Westbrook was the better player, Jackson wanted to be traded.
He was never serious about signing an extension to his rookie contract because the Thunder wouldn’t agree to make Jackson the starter.
OKC tried to work a deal for Jackson before the start of last season but remember that’s when the Thunder were having a plague of injuries and at the time Westbrook was down and so was Kevin Durant. Disgruntled and disappointed or not the Thunder needed Jackson to play for them not some other team.
So the extension and the trade were put on hold. And then Jackson pulled the ultimate punk move. He let his teammates down when they needed him most.
At the beginning of last season Jackson also was hobbled with a sprained ankle and missed the first two games of last season. He was medically cleared to play before the Thunder’s third game and came over to talk to reporters.
I was at that session and normally when players come over in that situation it means they’re going to play but when we asked Jackson about his status for that night’s game he said he wasn’t sure if he be out there or not which was a surprise to all of us.
Then even more surprising, Jackson grabbed a basketball and with all his teammates watching ran over and hit a windmill dunk, jumped around a little and sprinted toward the showers.
That night of course Jackson, who would have started at point guard, declined to play because of his “sore” ankle.
And really that was pretty much the end of a good relationship between Jackson and his coaches and teammates. He had turned his back on them in a most obvious way after that showboating dunk and so his teammates would remember.
Jackson was finally sent to Detroit in a deadline deal and a strong breeze of fresh air came into the OKC lockerroom when Jackson left.
“We felt like everyone wanted to be here except for one guy,” Durant said at the time.
Earlier this season before the Thunder went up against the Pistons for the first time with Jackson in the opponent uniform Westbrook said, “Who?” when asked about his former teammate. And make no mistake Russ clearly heard the question.
So last night as the final seconds were ticking off Detroit’s 88-82 win over the short-handed Thunder, Jackson just couldn’t resist shoving it in the face of his former teammates and the Thunder in general.
He went dancing up and down the sideline, arms outstretched, like he’d just won an NBA Championship, staring at the Thunder bench. He’d only gone 4-for-15 so he didn’t even have that great a night and his team still almost lost to the the Thunder despite Durant and Ibaka not playing, but still he danced and started anyway.
Nick Collison, who doesn’t take that sort of thing lightly, yelled at him. Steven Adams got into a heated conversation with him. And Westbrook, perhaps most of all, also took exception to Reggie’s antics.
“Yeah I did, actually,” Westbrook said. “Honestly I think that was some real bull shit. I don’t appreciate it for our team and our organization. I don’t like it at all. But it is what it is. We’ll see him down the line and we’ll take care of that when we get there.”
Uh-oh, sounds like Russ will be ready to drop the hammer.
Adams didn’t say much about his chat with Jackson.
“Just surprised really, says a lot about him though.”
Yep it sure does. Reggie might not have ever been able to become the starting point guard in Oklahoma City but he’s still a first team punk and that apparently is never going to change.