Stephen Jackson On His Comeback: ‘NBA Or Nothing, Man’

Stephen Jackson has been one of the more enigmatic players of the last 15 years. After heading to Oak Hill for his senior year of high school, Jackson went to Butler Community College of El Dorado in Kansas but was deemed ineligible and jumped to the League in 1997 without ever playing a college game. He bounced around overseas before solidifying himself in the NBA, eventually scoring 20 a night for three consecutive seasons. Captain Jack is also infamously known for the ‘Malice at the Palace’ and more recently getting into it with Steve Francis at a Houston club. Now, after two years out of the NBA, he is making a legit attempt to land back on a roster and physically looks the part.

While at the Ludaday game in ATL, where he played with the likes of Dwight Howard and Lou Williams, we talked to Stak5 about his comeback attempt, what he can bring to a team and if he is considering other options if the League does not work out. Check it:

SLAM: What’s the grind been like for during this comeback attempt?

Stephen Jackson: My whole career, I’ve never had no serious injuries or no surgeries. These last seven months, I’ve been doing two-a-days to get ready. I know I have a good two years left and hopefully I can help somebody.

SLAM: You’ve been a fixture down here in Atlanta lately. Why here and not back home in Texas?

SJ: I’ve been living here most of the time since I played for the Hawks. I’ve been here for around 10 years and I moved out to Alpharetta for my two-a-days, so I’m feeling good.

SLAM: Have you considered the D-League or possibly going overseas? Or is it NBA or bust?

SJ: NBA or nothing, man. I don’t need the money. I just want to give back to the game. Anything else is a step down, so I just want to give the NBA a shot.

SLAM: After having a couple of years away from the game, what made you all of a sudden decide to try to get back to the League?

SJ: I’ve been been playing basketball at a high level and my body feels great. I got calls from different coaches who have seen me work out and they know I can still play. I’ve got two years left, so why not give it back to the game?

SLAM: The younger generation knows you more for the Steve Francis incident than they do for your game itself. Is that part of the reason that you want to get back on the court?

SJ: The thing is, I’m one of those rare competitors in everything I do. Guys don’t compete as well as they used to. I’m one of those rare competitors who care about locking down on defense and doing what I’m supposed to do.

Photo courtesy of David Walker