Dec 18, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis (23) defends against Los Angeles Clippers small forward Stephen Jackson (1) during the third quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
To some, Stephen Jackson will be remembered for punching a fan in the infamous “Malice at the Palice” brawl or for his off the court troubles. This week Jackson announced that he will officially retire.
The truth is, “Captain Jack” had a nice career and he did it the hard way.
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After being selected with the 42nd pick in the 1997 NBA Draft, Jackson played overseas for 4 years. He then joined the New Jersey Nets in 2000 and made an impact right away. As a rookie Jackson averaged 8.2 points. He joined the Spurs for his second and third seasons. In his first season with the Spurs, Jackson struggled with injuries. As a result he averaged 3.9 points in 23 games.
Things changed in his second season with the Spurs as he averaged 11.8 points and 3.6 rebounds. In the playoffs Jackson helped the Spurs tremendous as he was a key contributor in their title win. Jackson averaged 12.8 points in the playoffs, third on the team.
Jackson rejected a Spurs contract and went on to play with Atlanta, Indiana, Golden State, Charlotte, and Milwaukee for the next 10 years. His best years were with the Warriors. Jackson averaged more than 20 points back-to-back seasons from 2007-09.
In the 2007 postseason Jackson was terrific, as he averaged 22.8 points when the 8th seeded Warriors upset the Dallas Mavericks in the first round. Jackson scored 33 points in a series clinching game six and he was terrific on defense. Jackson spent lots of time defending Dirk Nowitzki, who went 2-13 from the field. In the second round Jackson averaged 16.4 points on a brutal 28% from the field against Utah.
His best scoring season was with the Charlotte Bobcats in 2009-10. He averaged 21.1 points with the Hornets in 72 games after being traded from the Warriors 10 games into the season.
In 2011, Jackson returned to the Spurs. After a decent season in which he averaged 8.9 points as a bench contributor, he had some terrific moments in the playoffs. After averaging only 1.3 points in the conference semifinals against the Clippers, he was big against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He averaged 15.8 points in the final four games of the series, but they fell in six games.
Jackson averaged 6.2 points in the next season with the Spurs, before ending his career with the Clippers in 2013-14.
In 14 years he had career averages of 15.1 points and 3.9 rebounds.
Jackson had his ups and downs in his career, but there is no denying that he was a good player.