Former NBA star (Pacers, Nets, Warriors) Stephen Jackson joined Mike Rapaport to talk all-things NBA in the newest episode of I AM RAPAPORT. The two covered everything from news of the latest Big Three League to NBA champ predictions. Jackson revealed a few never-before-heard stories with Rapaport from his career around the game.
Jackson expressed his excitement for the Big Three League, the 3-on-3 basketball league created by Ice Cube to give retired NBA stars a chance to continue playing. Rapaport asked Jackson about his role in the league as a player and what kind of atmosphere he was hoping to find himself in. Jackson confidently affirmed that he “isn’t drafting friends” and that he “wants to win.”
The future of the 3-on-3 league led Rapaport and Jackson into discussions about the current status of the NBA and Rapaport’s favorite team, the New York Knicks.
Rapaport and Jackson tried to find the root of the problems facing the Knicks this season, and Jackson summed it all up in two words: “Phil Jackson.” Stephen Jackson took the blame off of Carmelo Anthony and placed it on Phil Jackson instead who, he believes, “gets more credit than he deserves.” Rapaport and Jackson agreed that though Phil Jackson “started with trash,” it is his responsibility to “put the puzzle together.”
“Phil came and that’s when all the B.S started.” said Jackson. “They expected Phil to bring a championship-type attitude, but he didn’t bring in championship-like players. Jackson summed up the Knicks’ problems with one firm statement: “Everything that is wrong in New York is Phil Jackson. Nothing else.”
More often than not, the organization is to blame for losses, not the players on the court. A team must be united behind an organization and a strong coach. That close relationship showed through in Jackson’s relationship with one of his former coaches, Don Nelson, in his time with Golden State.
“He [Don Nelson] was one of my favorite coaches. Not only is he the most winningest coach in NBA history, he’s given me one of the best compliments,” said Jackson. “After we beat Dallas in the first round [he was asked to comment on my play] and said, ‘If I could create my team, I’d want five Stephen Jacksons out there at once.’ And that meant the world to me.”
Nelson, who was Jackson’s coach on the Golden State Warriors, left a lasting impression on the player on the court and off the court. Between beginning the season taking shots of scotch at a local bar to paying Jackson the compliment of his career, Jackson has a lot of stories and good things to say about the coach.
“We were in Utah, there were drug test people around,” Jackson began. “It’s our last drug test and be and Baron [Davis] come out of the locker room screamin’, excited, with our pink slips saying now we can smoke the rest of the season,” Jackson laughed, “Don Nelson comes up giving us high fives. The fact that he knows what his team is doing off the court; that’s why we were a good team.”