In the constellation of overpaid, nonperforming NBA pseudo stars, Stephen Jackson is different. Andray Blatche, Rashard Lewis, Gilbert Arenas, Baron Davis, Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, John Salmons, Tyrus Thomas and the countless others before them have all been delighted to take the money and run. Stephen Jackson wants the money and the power. That's why it makes perfect sense he serves as his own agent. He thinks the Milwaukee Bucks are wrong about everything. Wrong about reducing his role. Wrong about denying him a contract extension. Wrong about not responding to his request for a trade. Objectivity has no role in the process. The Bucks are wrong simply because they don't agree with him.
Jackson's brief time in Milwaukee proves he is not a leader, but simultaneously reinforces his reputation as a fierce competitor. The problem is that he sees himself in competition with the organization now. Two years and 19.5M on his contract are ancillary to his customary 35 minutes and 16 shots per game. He isn't going to give the money back to reclaim a central role on the court, but he is clearly trying to raise hell to get both things again. Demands for a trade are not elliptical or opaque. At 33 years old and staring down a rapid decline of his already inefficient game, S-Jax still believes he is entitled to the power. He claims to hate losing (ah yes, don't we all), but has an established record as a break-even type of lead player on break even type teams. Just don't try to remind him.
Anything short of organizational acquiescence to his demands is cataloged as a personal affront. When Brandon Jennings (his appointed mentee) recently opened up to ESPN's Chris Broussard about exploring his options beyond Milwaukee, he used "understanding the business of basketball" as a justification. Jennings likely developed that line of thought with some help. Nobody is less enchanted with the "business of basketball" than Stephen Jackson. If only Jennings understood that the catchy phrase is really just a conveniently nebulous term used to project the problem on someone else and perpetuate cognitive dissonance.
Stephen Jackson is absurd in so many ways. At the beginning of the 2011-12 season, I brought out my inner logician and tackled the typically vexing multiple endpoints issue with a presentation of reasonable statistical standards by which to judge Jax fairly. The process revealed his inner John Salmons, at least in terms of production. In force of personality, Salmons was a cipher. A nonentity. Corey Maggette too. Meanwhile, number five has claimed an excess of failure beyond his dreadful on-court performance. He literally couldn't be worse for Milwaukee. The first miracle of absurdity is that anyone with even a modicum of rooting interest in the Bucks would take back John Salmons or Corey Maggette without hesitation. Think about that for a second.
Submission to a tortured preference of irrelevance speaks volumes about the lack of direction for the 2011-12 team and the organization going forward. The minimum expectation for fans has sunken from "don't embarrass us" to "just make sure you don't insult us," yet even that generous concession still can't meet the subterranean level set by the current situation.
Any sympathy for Stephen Jackson is derived from a parallel frustration with the Bucks. The Bucks are wrong. They do need to alter their rotations to confront Jackson's future with the team. A subtle and reluctant kinship between fans and the biggest disappointment on the team has developed because the Bucks refuse to acknowledge either voice. Then again, fans understand the 11-year NBA vet is benched for good cause and needs to be moved so young players can get more minutes as the team rebuilds. It's all completely at odds with the timeless "wisdom" of DaTrillStak5. That's why the second miracle of absurdity is that Jax and the fans can agree about so much without really agreeing on anything at all. He's the problem and the solution. He demands the power and deserves none. It's perfect, in a Milwaukee Bucks type of way.
Statistics confirm the suspicions of the team and the fan base. Their malcontent shooting guard has transformed into something worse than dead weight. The proof is below. The truth is now a hater too. Here's why Stephen Jackson isn't starting for the Bucks (and why he shouldn't start for anyone). Time to wake up. The biggest miracle of absurdity is that he never will.