Tom Sorensen

Stephen Jackson: Skilled, unselfish, and maybe a little high when he played for Bobcats

Former Charlotte Bobcats guard Stephen Jackson said he sometimes smoked marijuana before games – but there was precious little evidence of it.
Former Charlotte Bobcats guard Stephen Jackson said he sometimes smoked marijuana before games – but there was precious little evidence of it. AP

Stephen Jackson, the former Charlotte Bobcat, told ESPN that he occasionally smoked pot before games. He said he used it to become calmer.

What’s interesting is that Jackson, a commentator for ESPN, played smart basketball. He could score, he could rebound and he could pass. Jackson played for Charlotte in 2009 and 2010. A 6-8 guard, he had the Bobcats' first triple double and was once the Eastern Conference’s player of the week. He and Gerald Wallace led the Bobcats to the playoffs for the first time.

In 2009 Jackson averaged 21.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists, and he shot 46.9 percent from the field. In ’10 he averaged 18.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists, and shot 46.8 percent. He was willing to go inside and compete against the big guys as well as make passes many players don’t see.

Jackson, 38, was who the Bobcats thought they were getting when they flung mega-money at Lance Stephenson. Unlike Stephenson, Jackson didn’t need the ball to be effective. Unlike Stephenson, Jackson was effective.

Jackson played for eight teams in 14 NBA seasons, two of them twice. I read about him being a journeyman, and he was. He also was one of the most skilled and unselfish journeymen I’ve ever seen. He called most of us captain, and was interesting to talk to.

About the pot: I’d love to write that the Butterfinger wrappers, peanut shells and cookie crumbs on the carpet in front of Jackson’s locker were a testament to his secret. But I never saw any.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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