MILWAUKEE — Say this about Stephen Jackson, he’s one of the few NBA players who isn’t afraid of being politically incorrect. More often than not, he’ll give you unfiltered, straight-from-the-heart opinions.
Jackson, who had a cup of coffee with the Milwaukee Bucks before being jettisoned in a trade last March, was back in Milwaukee Wednesday with the San Antonio Spurs.
I chatted with Jackson after the game at the BMO Harris Bradley Center and, as usual, he didn’t pull many punches. When I asked Jackson whether he had talked to Bucks coach Scott Skiles, with whom he had a tumultuous relationship, since being dealt, Jackson looked at me incredulously and said, “Are you serious? … Are you serious?”
He then paused, raised his voice and again said, “Are you serious? No, I haven’t talked to Scott Skiles. I wish him the best.”
Here are some of Jackson’s other thoughts:
On the current Bucks’ team: “They got a lot of talent, man. They’re just one player away from turning the corner. They got some great scorers out there. The young guy who they threw out there tonight (John Henson) played well. If they can get a little bit out of Drew Gooden and he helps them, they’ll be a good team. I think they’re right there.”
On Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings, who’ll be a restricted free agent this summer: “Brandon is a good player. I’ve been a fan of Brandon since I was here last time. Obviously, with him and Monta (Ellis), there’s a lot of scoring out there. I know they have some things they still have to figure out, but Brandon is solid. I think a lot of teams would want him on their team.”
On the biggest difference between Milwaukee and San Antonio: “Milwaukee is in Wisconsin; I’m from Texas. I wasn’t here that long, but the people in his city were great to me. I met a lot of people, especially when I wasn’t playing, and they were great to me. So, I love the city. I love the people of this city. It’s just work-wise, it wasn’t good for me.”
On the development of Bucks center Larry Sanders: “I love how Larry is playing. I feel like he could have done that last year when I was here. Big man, aggressive, blocks shots and he wants to get better. That’s the best thing about it. He’s not worrying about whether he’s going to play this year. He knows he’s going to play and get in the game so he’s kind of more relaxed and enjoying the game again.”
On the Bucks glut of power forwards: “I think they have all the pieces they need with their big guys. I don’t think it’s that bad. I just think he (Skiles) has got to learn how to use them. A lot of those power forwards can play three (small forward) and four, so it can work.”
On whether he ever confronted Bucks general manager John Hammond about a contract extension: “No, no. I respected John. We talked about it sometimes but I never confronted him about it. There were just some things on my mind that I wanted to talk to him about. I have the utmost respect for John. Actually, I still speak to John. He’s probably the only person from the organization that I still speak to. He’s texted me after a game sometimes. Hopefully, one day I might be working for him.”