NBA Champion Stephen Jackson Reveals He Left San Antonio After 03 Playoffs, Due To Being Lowballed By Spurs For Manu Ginobili

Prior to the 2001-2002 NBA season, it was signed by the San Antonio Spurs. After a pretty successful rookie campaign, Jackson was hampered by injuries and team expectations in 2001, missing a total of 45 games.

Former assistant coach Mike Brown stated: “The first year we had him in San Antonio, he was on the (injured reserve) most of the year. At first, he didn’t understand why because he probably was the most talented player we had on that team, but he needed to mature a little bit so we stuck him there to see how he would respond. He was the best teammate on our team that first year. He was juiced at practice ready to play and compete and make the starters better, and it carried over into his second year when he got his opportunity to get out onto the floor and prove he could be a vital part of the organization.”

His season average was 3.9 points and 1.1 rebounds, registering about 9.9 minutes a game.

Throughout the 2002-03 NBA season, Jackson became a key member of the Spurs. In 80 games (58 starts), her average of the season was 11.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 28.2 minutes per game.

During the team’s 2003 NBA playoff race, Jackson proved to be a vital asset and helped the Spurs earn their second NBA title, an average of 12.8 points per game during the playoffs, the team’s third-highest scorer. However, Jackson’s first foray into the playoffs yielded mixed results regarding individual achievement.

During the playoffs, Jackson wavered between the heroism of the fourth quarter and clutch shooting. (Western Conference playoffs versus the Dallas Mavericks and NBA finals versus the New Jersey Nets) and a brutal game, subject to errors (26 turnovers in the championship series of 6 games).

The next season Jackson would sign with the Atlanta Hawks for two seasons. In a recent interview with Bally Sports Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson, Jackson revealed why he elected to leave San Antonio for Atlanta.

“I knew Pop was a good coach but I didn’t 100% trust him because I know he had three people he cared about: Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker. I knew I wasn’t one of his guys, so I made it work for me. I got a ring out of the situation and I bounced,” said Jackson candidly. “They tried to lowball me and give Ginobili the money. So, I have all the respect for Pop for giving me that opportunity but San Antonio was not a place for me. As you see, I left San Antonio and had better years. That system wasn’t meant for my game. I’m glad I left. I’m thankful for the Championship but I’m glad I was able to leave San Antonio and be the best player I could be cause I wouldn’t have been that had I stayed there.”

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Written by Byron Nelson

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