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News » Warriors' Jackson: The drama is behind him

Warriors' Jackson: The drama is behind him

Warriors' Jackson: The drama is behind him In Stephen Jackson's world, there is no more drama.

"It's ended for me," he said.

So, there's nothing to see here. Everything's fine. Move along now.

Whatever happened, happened.

"And it is what it is," Jackson added.

What it has been is the most chaotic preseason in recent memory, one that has produced a daily "As the Warriors Turn" soap opera and left everyone in the NBA wondering: What the heck is going on with that crazy Golden State franchise?

Jackson has been in the middle of much of the commotion.

The $25,000 fine for saying he wanted to be traded. Blowing a gasket against the Lakers and getting a two-game suspension costing him $139,000 more and adding an air of frostiness to his relationship with coach Don Nelson. Giving up the team captain role.

"Some guys haven't been calling me Captain Jack lately, but some still do," Jackson said.

"I'm a natural leader, and I don't think a title will have anything to do with how I act or people look at me. It's just who I am. I haven't changed."

And that's the issue as the Warriors prepare for their opener Wednesday at Oracle Arena with the season showing signs of being a train wreck before it even starts. Jackson promises that you have heard the last from him about wanting out.

He will focus on Basketball and let, you know, whatever happens to happen.

But the honest-to-a-fault Jackson also is defiantly unrepentant about everything he has said and done over the past two months.

"People need to stop making this personal," Jackson said. "I hear, 'The Warriors have done a lot for Stephen Jackson.' Well I've done a lot for the Warriors , too. They didn't make me play Basketball like I have. I did that.

"People keep saying that the Warriors gave me my extension. Well I earned my extension. Nobody has ever given me anything. I played hurt for three years on a broken toe. Just as much as they've done for me, I've done for the organization. We both should be thankful."

Ah, the much-discussed extension. When the Warriors tacked on three years and $27.8 million to Jackson's contract, they basically bound themselves to him, for better or for worse. It's extremely difficult to trade a 31-year-old swingman with a history of volatility plus four years and $34.5 million left on his deal.

For a famously devoted fan base that has stuck with the team through years of losing, the contract also is a flash point for anger. Jackson likes to say that if he's with you, he's with you. No matter what, he will have your back.

But where, fans have been demanding, is his loyalty to the franchise? How can he want the Warriors' money but not want the Warriors ?

Asked if he's concerned what people think of him, or about how he will be greeted during pregame introductions Wednesday, his first reaction was: "Not really. I mean, who cares?"

But he does care, at least enough to explain what he means.

"If they look at me as a guy who just wants to win, why would they think any differently about me?" he asked. "They should respect me for wanting to win and not just wanting to get a paycheck. But, hey, they threw stones at Jesus, so they can say whatever they want about me."

Of course, if all he wants to do is win and he's asking to be traded, fans can't be blamed for connecting the dots and deciding that Jackson already sees the Warriors as a lost cause after a summer when they seemingly did little to upgrade their roster.

And during an economic downturn in which so many lose jobs and homes, the public has little patience for athletes' complaints.

"That's not my fault they're going through tough times," Jackson said. "There are people in my family going through tough times, too. I'm lucky that I have a great job, but I can't determine what goes on in this country. Hopefully the president will do something where people don't have hard times. But, hey, that's not on me."

For his part, Nelson is taking the lack of fireworks in the past week or so as something positive.

"He's the old Jack, as far as I can see," Nelson said. "We've gone through all this together, and it's worked itself out. I think he's a good soldier right now, and I think he'll do the right thing."

Teammate Corey Maggette's suggestion is Jackson might want to consider adding two words to his voluminous vocabulary: "No comment."

"He speaks his mind so much that I tell him that he just needs to walk away sometimes," Maggette said. "But that's not who he is."

When asked if anything positive could result from all the preseason controversy, Maggette was silent for a good 10 seconds.

"Everybody on the team has continued to support one another," he finally said. "It hasn't pulled us apart, and that's a good thing."

In fact, Jackson said he hosted a team barbecue last weekend and has organized restaurant and bowling outings, just like he always did.

And the truth is Jackson loved being captain. With tears brimming in his eyes during a 2007 interview, he talked about the metamorphosis from a guy many people thought was a thug going into the Detroit stands during the Malice at the Palace and a shooting incident outside a strip club into an acknowledged leader. He said it was better than winning a title with San Antonio.

That was then, this is now.

"I didn't feel like I was being treated like a captain," he said. "Getting fined that much for missing two preseason games doesn't sit well with me. So I would prefer to just do my job and do my own thing."

Jackson wouldn't answer the question of what he really wants, because "I don't want to get fined again.

But for now, he's here. He promises he will be the same hard worker on the court and deal with any negative reaction that comes his way.

"At the end of the day, I do my job damn well," he said. "People can say what they want. I don't read the papers. I don't read the blogs. None of that stuff. I just want to win, and I won't ever settle for being a loser. Never will. That's just not me."

Like he said, it is what it is.

Contact Mark Emmons at 408-920-5745.

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Added: October 27, 2009


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