The Sacramento Bee wins the feature-of-the-day award with a very brief profile of Darnell Jackson, the former Cavalier brought into the Kings in the Jon Brockman trade. The opening pretty much sells you on wishing nothing but the best for Jackson:
Of all the tattoos on Darnell Jackson’s body, it’s one on his right wrist that speaks to the pain he has endured and his optimism.
It’s a simple phrase: “Suicide is not an option.”
The phrase is a reminder for Jackson who lost his mother to suicide last year in a painkiller overdose following a car crash that also cost him his grandmother. The same month, Cleveland decided to cut Jackson to make room for a returning Zydrunas Ilgauskas. I don’t believe in sports karma. But man alive, that’s a bad month.
Jackson’s fighting to make the squad in Sacramento, who keep losing big men to injury. For his part, Jackson has been nothing to write home about in his career, but also works hard, doesn’t complain, does what he’s asked. You know, basically, the anti-Joey-Dorsey.
Reading a profile like this makes you want to root for Jackson all the more. But then, when you think about it. Playing in the NBA is his dream, that’s for sure. But would it really do anything to ease the pain of what he’s gone through in the last year? Just as with yesterday’s discussion of Dwyane Wade, it’s easy to forget these guys are real, three-dimensional people and that scoring a bunch of point as an NBA player isn’t going to make losing your mother to suicide any easier. We act like this personal glory somehow compensates for what these guys have to go through, as if it makes them immune to the same kinds of hauntings we all have to live with.
And the fact is, it doesn’t.
Still, if you’re looking for a guy who’s had a rough run that you want to hope good things for? Maybe we shouldn’t aim for the guys with histories of clashing with coaches or struggling with injuries. Maybe it’s guys like Jackson we should really attach our bandwagons to.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.
For two decades, Kobe Bryant saw everyone and everything as an obstacle to overcome: The Pacers, Sixers, Nets, Magic, Celtics, Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Smush Parker, a torn Achilles. It didn’t matter. Kobe’s work ethic and drive had him rising above it all.
His focus hasn’t changed now. Kobe was on the Jim Rome show, and the topic of the new-look Warriors with Kevin Durant came up, along with the “woe is me” attitude of some players (and plenty of owners and GMs).
“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,'” he said. “If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over there; we’re still going to take you down.'”
Easier said than done to make that happen, but that attitude is the only one to have if you think you have a chance. You can be sure LeBron James is thinking that way and telling his Cavaliers teammates the same.
We’re going to miss Kobe.