Gregg Popovich yanks off Stephen Jackson’s headband

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The Spurs released Stephen Jackson just before last season’s playoffs, reportedly, because Jackson had been feuding with Gregg Popovich.

Jackson could have been bitter, but he wasn’t. Even as San Antonio made the NBA Finals, he said, “I wouldn’t want me on the team, either.”

If nothing else, Jackson  tells it like it is. If he resented Popovich and the Spurs, he would have said so.

There’s still good feelings between Jackson and Popovich, and that was on fully display after the Clippers beat the Spurs on Monday.

I think.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-yjVfVHmNo&w=640&h=360]

Popovich is joking around here, right? Right? He doesn’t typically act this way publically, so I’m a bit confused.

He flicks the headband at Jackson, who goes to hug Tim Duncan rather than embrace Popovich. That doesn’t scream warm. I can’t imagine Popovich snatching Jackson’s headband to be a jerk, though.

So, this has to be cordial. Right?

I’ll go with yes, but only because Popovich’s pregame thoughts on Jackson back that up.

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Popovich, via Dan McCarney of Spurs Nation:

“This will sound crazy because I booted him before the playoffs,” Popovich said, “but I love the guy. He lives in my neighborhood. He’s a great guy. He’s one of those guys who’s got a great sense of humor. He’s got a great heart.“He’s got a few idiosyncrasies I might not buy now and then, but he’s a great kid, and he gives an edge to your basketball team. He’s getting older, and all players when they get older have to face certain situations and change roles. He’s got an opportunity to do that here with Doc (Rivers), and, hopefully, he will. I wish him nothing but great success.”

I think Popovich shares the same mindset as me. The NBA is a more intriguing place when Jackson is in the league, but he’s easier to appreciate when he’s not on your team.