MILWAUKEE (AP) - Stephen Jackson says he’s misunderstood, thanks to a steady stream of outbursts on the court and his involvement in the infamous 2004 Pacers-Pistons brawl.
That doesn’t mean he’s going soft.
The veteran shooting guard promises to bring some attitude to the Bucks after a three-way draft day trade landed him in Milwaukee.
“There’s no time for being babies or being scared,” Jackson said. “If you’re scared, go to church.”
Jackson was both brash and charming during his introductory news conference Wednesday. At one point, he cracked up Bucks general manager John Hammond and coach Scott Skiles as he bragged about his exploits in a YMCA basketball game as a child.
Jackson said he’s happy to be with the Bucks, something that wasn’t quite clear as the trade came together last week _ although he’s bound to raise a few eyebrows around town by mentioning that Milwaukee generally is considered a “boring city” by visiting players.
“The only perception that I’ve had from other teams is coming to a boring city,” Jackson said. “That’s what they always say. But since I’ve been here, the weather’s been great. I didn’t expect the weather to be so great. When I come, there’s snow everywhere.”
Jackson also said he isn’t bitter about being traded by Charlotte.
“I didn’t want to be on a team where they’re going younger and they want to win three years from now,” Jackson said. “I’ll be at the end of my career. So winning now is important to me, and this is a great place to win now.”
Jackson was confused as to why the Bobcats held him out with an injury toward the end of last season.
“The last 10 games, I could have played,” Jackson said. “But they shut me down. The team shut me down. So I kind of assumed they didn’t want to make the playoffs.”
Jackson has 6-foot-8 size and a shooting guard’s skill set, making him a matchup problem. He also can play small forward, although he wants to bulk up if the Bucks want to use him that way.
An 11-year NBA veteran, Jackson averaged 18.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.2 steals in 67 games for Charlotte last season. He believes the Bucks are “one player away” _ and believes he’s that player.
“I know what I can bring to this team, and I know what it takes to get to the playoffs,” Jackson said.
Milwaukee continued making moves Wednesday, picking up contract options on Brandon Jennings and forward Larry Sanders.
Once the team hits the court, Jackson believes Skiles will give him some leeway to keep teammates motivated.
“For us to win, we have to be all on the same page,” Jackson said. “And I’m pretty sure that coach is going to give me the room to police all that. If guys don’t want to play, you need to let us know that, because you’re not going to be a part of us. And I’m going to make that known.”
After the trade, Jackson got text messages from Jennings and Andrew Bogut right away. He already knows Jennings pretty well.
“My job is just to push him,” Jackson said. “I’m going to constantly let him know how good he is. I’m going to continue to push him, let him know this team will only go as far as he goes. I might be the oldest guy on the team with the most year, but he is the leader of this team.”
Jackson had 15 technical fouls last season, tied for third-most in the league. He was ejected twice _ including a Nov. 27 game against the Bucks, where he was kicked out less than five minutes into the game. He and Skiles laughed about that game during Wednesday’s news conference.
“Obviously, I’ve got to be smarter about it,” Jackson said. “But I’m going to play with the same passion and desire every night, and nobody’s going to change that. Not referees. Nobody.”
Skiles praised Jackson’s passion.
“No coach would want Stephen Jackson ejected, of course,” Skiles said. “But I agree totally with what he just said. Given the choice of somebody playing with passion and on a rare occasion losing it a little bit, and guys that don’t bring that kind of passion, you always take the former.”
That passion went way over the line during the Indiana-Detroit brawl, earning him a 30-game suspension. Jackson said he was trying to help a teammate, but knows he was wrong.
“Obviously, I regret the whole situation,” Jackson said. “I regret it, because if I think about it, I would have never went in the stands.”
Jackson said that incident gave people the wrong impression. He insists he’s pretty boring off the court, spending most of his time watching movies.
“I’m an assassin on the court,” Jackson said. “And at home, I’m a nun.”
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