The San Antonio Spurs Stephen Jackson has come a long way since he was playing the backup role to The Artest Formerly Known as Ron in the stands all those years ago in Detroit, but it seems he's still the same old guy he's always been, both deep down and on the surface.
Sure, he's not going around picking fights and trying to act the tough guy every chance he gets. Instead of going full-crazy all day long, he's become more reserved, quite a bit like his old running mate Metta World Peace, but there are certainly times when he's going to get in a scrum or call somebody out.
Even though he's been out of the lineup for a few weeks now with a sprained right finger, he's still found the need to say a word or two about what's irking him at this point in time.
Of course, this time he's gone and called somebody out, in this case Serge Ibaka, via Twitter. Now, he's going about putting on his tough guy act on the Internet rather than on the floor:
Somebody tell serg Abaka. He aint bout dis life. Next time he run up on me im goin in his mouth. That’s a promise. He doin 2 much.
The tweet, since deleted and therefore even more useless, not only calls out Ibaka on the idea that he's becoming a fake tough guy, but contains an out-and-out threat.
There's quite a bit of irony in the roots of his tweet—not the least of which is calling someone a fake tough guy on the Internet. However, we all know Jackson's game, and he's not a guy from whom we can take threats like this lightly.
It's not to say that he's going to come out and throw punches at Ibaka the next time the Thunder and Spurs match up, but if he and Ibaka do get a bit rough at some point, there's likely to be some kind of showdown between the two.
For the length of his career, Jackson has trod all over the line between sticking up for his teammates (like he stuck beside Artest) and flying off the handle (which this seems to be), and the fact that he's continuing to do so has to be a bit concerning for Spurs fans.
This, of course, isn't the only verbal incident that makes us question the rehabilitation of Jackson as a former crazy dude, which is kind of the opposite of the vibe we had gotten over the course of his most recent stint with the Spurs.
In a recent interview with ESPN, Jackson issues a flurry of quotes that not only make him seem remorseless for his actions in the past but downright crazy.
When asked if he enjoyed the brawl in Detroit, the answer was kind of shocking:
When I hit that fan, I definitely enjoyed it—until that fine came down. That $3 million I lost killed me. It brought me back to reality because I could have lost my job.
It's great that he's comfortable enough to be that candid with a reporter, but saying things like that doesn't exactly do a lot to clean up his dirty reputation.
The fact that there's no remorse in his voice is not only a bit upsetting, but it's downright shocking to hear.
Even further, he was asked about the incident at a strip club when he shot a car after it struck him back in 2006:
I’ve been in too many club fights not to know what’s going on. I’m not going to get hit from behind, stomped out and just be laying there. So all of a sudden all these cars pull up and I let off a couple warning shots, like telling everyone to back up.
After that had happened, dude had jumped in his car and planned on trying to kill me. He hit me with his car. He drove straight into me and I flipped up in the air and landed face-first on the ground and knocked all my teeth out.
I hopped right up and lit his whole car up. I didn’t think twice because I’m figuring he tried to smoke Jamaal.
It seems crazy that I have to say it, but these aren't normal thoughts. It's fine for a man to defend himself in a situation like this, but to think all these years later that he didn't do anything to escalate the situation is still a bit naive and immature.
Let's hope Jackson doesn't decide to act on what he's tweeted, because I'm sure it's something David Stern wouldn't take a liking to.
It's definitely easy for me to say, but Jackson needs to lay low and just play basketball.