In 2015, everything came together for Reggie Jackson.
He achieved his longtime goal of becoming a full-time starting point guard. He signed a five-year, $80 million contract with the Pistons. He averaged 19 points and 6 assists per game, helping Detroit have what stands as its best season in more than a decade.
But Jackson missed 30 games the following year and 37 games the year after that. He entered last season still battling injury.
Jackson, via Rod Beard of The Detroit News:
“A few years back, I thought (my future) was retirement after this season,” Jackson told The Detroit News. “I’m just happy to be in a good state of mind and playing ball this year. We’ll figure (the future) out from there. I’m excited about what we can possibly do this year.”
Jackson added: “I was just getting injured too much and I had hit basketball depression and it was a point in time that I really didn’t want to deal with the game anymore. It was more the injuries that started to have that (retirement) thought creep in my head.”
Being an NBA player seems great. It usually is great.
But there are certainly lows.
Injuries are demoralizing and isolating. I see the temptation to walk away. Most people don’t realize how often players consider early retirement.
Of course, players rarely retire early. It’s often just a fleeting thought.
Jackson played all 82 games last year, and his explosiveness gradually returned. He enters a contract year positioned to succeed. Improved play from the point guard could help the Pistons take the next step with Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond.
If that happens, the 29-year-old Jackson could be in line for another sizable contract. He won’t get as much money as he did last time, but he could still draw a significant paycheck. That’s a big reason players keep going.
Whatever his motivation, Jackson sounds glad he persevered.