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.