You don’t get too many reminders of the Stephen Jackson era in Nets history, so let’s enjoy this one while we can.
Jackson played just the 2000-2001 season with the then-New Jersey Nets under Byron Scott, who’s now the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. 120 Sports asked Jackson about Scott’s public comments about Lakers rookies, specifically that Julius Randle needs to “grow up.”
Jackson was not shy. His response:
— 120 Sports (@120Sports) January 6, 2016
You know what? I’m glad you asked me this question. D’Angelo Russell and Randle, do not pay attention to Byron Scott. He cut me — I mean, excuse me, he didn’t cut me. I made the Rookie All-Star Game at the end of the break, and after the break, he did not play me no more. He is the worst communicator for young guys, I would not — I would not advise a young player to even listen to Byron Scott, because he is the worst coach at communicating with young guys and I’m living proof.
Jackson is known for keeping it real, and he wasn’t wrong. In Jackson’s rookie season, his playing time cratered after the All-Star Break: he played 25.7 minutes per game prior to the break, and just 13.9 per game afterwards.
That said, Jackson didn’t mention that starting forward Keith Van Horn had returned from an injury in January, which cut into his time on the court. (To be fair, Kendall Gill also went down around the same time Van Horn came back.) But Scott didn’t appear to communicate with Jackson about why he made the decision, which is the crucial element Jackson said Scott lacked.
The Jackson era with the Nets was short-lived: he only lasted one season with the Nets, before signing with the San Antonio Spurs. He would then get his revenge in 2003, when his Spurs beat the Nets in the NBA Finals, earning Jackson his lone championship ring.