Jackson's on-court success overshadows off-court problems Print
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Saturday, 05 May 2007 11:58
NBA Headline News

 OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -For many basketball fans, Stephen Jackson will always be the hotheaded player who followed Ron Artest into the stands at The Palace in 2004 throwing punches at a fan.
Firing shots into the air outside a strip club last October in an apparent attempt to break up a fight only furthered Jackson's reputation as a fly-off-the-handle player who personified what was wrong with the modern NBA player.
That emotion that fueled Jackson's temper and got him into so much trouble in the past is also what makes him so effective on the basketball court. After helping the Golden State Warriors pull off perhaps the biggest upset in NBA history by knocking the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks, Jackson is now getting attention for his game.
``My teammates know the true me,'' Jackson said Saturday. ``That's what's important to me because I have to work with them every day. I really don't care what people on the outside think as long as I'm respected by the people I work with every day.''
In less than four months with the Warriors, Jackson has clearly earned that respect. Baron Davis has called Jackson the leader of the team and his passionate, on-the-edge play is symbolic of the style that has carried Golden State into the second round of the playoffs for the first time in 16 years.
``Once he became a teammate of mine, I saw a whole different side that other people don't see,'' guard Jason Richardson said. ``They just see all the negative things that surround him. He's the glue to this team. He keeps going. He always guards the top scorer on the other team and comes back on the offensive side and gives us something too.''
Jackson came to the Warriors on Jan. 17 in an eight-player deal that revitalized Golden State's season and Jackson's career. He was a key contributor to the Warriors' stretch run to their first playoff berth in 13 years, and he averaged 22.8 points and played tough defense on Dirk Nowitzki in the first-round win over Dallas.
The Warriors became just the third eighth seed ever to win a first-round series and the first since the opening round went to a best-of-seven format in 2003.
ll player, which is what I was born to do. I'm enjoying it.''
Jackson encountered lots of trouble during his time in Indiana. In his first month with the Pacers, Jackson jumped into the stands and threw haymakers after a fan tossed a beer at his teammate Artest in the infamous November 2004 brawl. Jackson drew a 30-game suspension, although he says he doesn't regret his actions.
In October, Jackson was caught up in the mayhem at the strip club. He is scheduled to go to trial Thursday - the day before Game 3 of the second-round series - on a felony charge of criminal recklessness and misdemeanor counts of battery and disorderly conduct.
His conduct violated his probation on misdemeanor assault-and-battery charge from his role in The Palace fight, which could result in 30 days in a Michigan jail.
Despite two ejections in the first round and a $50,000 fine for failing to leave the court promptly after the first, Jackson did show some restraint against the Mavericks. When Davis got into Austin Croshere's face following a hard foul in the third quarter of Game 6, Jackson went to the opposite end of the court to make sure he didn't do anything reckless.
``There was no need for me to run down there because I don't think anybody was going to do anything crazy,'' he said. ``I knew I wasn't.''
Coach Don Nelson wasn't as sure, saying he never knows if Jackson will keep his cool.
``That's the problem that I have,'' Nelson said. ``I was really glad that Jackson kept his head in that game and he kept his head up, not down. He kept it down for a short period of time and then got right back into playing. The only one who can really stop him on the floor is himself. When he loses that, then he becomes less ordinary. If he can somehow rise above not getting a call or getting a bad foul, or whatever upsets him, nobody can stop him on the floor.''
Jackson showed that in the decisive Game 6. He made his first seven 3-pointers in the game and scored 15 points in the key third-quarter run that carried Golden State the 111-86 victory.
He took over the game in that third quarter, applying the lessons he learned in San Antonio when he won an NBA title in 2003 with David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Steve Smith, Steve Kerr and Kevin Willis. Jackson credits those veterans for making him the player he is.
``I knew my day was coming,'' Jackson said. ``The only thing I could take out of that was I knew it would be my day sometime to lead a team.''
 

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