Clippers

Jackson’s Journey an Inspiration for All

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On a Thursday night at Crypto.com arena, fans erupt after witnessing a Reggie Jackson crossover.

A crossover so grandiose the defending Russell Westbrook opted to foul in hopes of dodging any further embarrassment.

With the crowd chanting Reggie’s name, he hit a quick three off an Ivica Zubac screen. Afterwards, Jackson let out a scream full of passion and retribution for something he’s wanted his whole life.

To be a starting point guard.

OKC Days

Looking back to 2011, Reggie was drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, backing up Westbrook did not suffice him for long; he wanted more.

Reggie’s role increased when Westbrook missed a large chunk of games in 2014 while out with a knee injury. With Westbrook sidelined, he raised his scoring averages by just under eight points per game.

After getting a taste of the starting point-guard role, Reggie was hooked.

Fast forward to the 2014 playoffs, Reggie continued to impress. In game four of the first round against the Memphis Grizzlies, Reggie scored an impressive 32 points, leading the team to an overtime victory. The most remarkable part, however, was that they won when Westbrook and Kevin Durant, the two franchise players, only combined for 30 points!

However, Reggie’s time in OKC came to a bitter end. Reggie’s disinterest in staying in OKC for his final season greatly hindered his play and his minutes.

Locker-Room Drama

One of the ways Reggie showed that he thought of himself as a starting point guard was to write it on his shoes. He’d write ‘SPG’ on his shoes, for starting point guard, even with Westbrook on his team

A move so bold even his replacement Dion Waiters would be proud.

After a trade request, Reggie’s wish was granted, and he was traded to the Detroit Pistons along with teammate Kendrick Perkins in February of the 2014-15 season. He was nothing short of relieved.

Even after being traded, the mutual dislike between Reggie and his former teammates continued to grow. Durant summed up the team’s feelings following a victory against the Dallas Mavericks.

Durant’s lack of a send-off tweet for Reggie despite Durant sending one out for Perkins, along with his prior words, showed Reggie’s standing with his former teammates.

Pistons Tenure

Reggie’s wish of a starting point-guard role had come true. He continued to improve, posting career numbers in his first two seasons with the Pistons. In March, he even had a ludicrous 23 points and 20 assists against the Grizzlies.

Sadly, his next two seasons did not go as planned. Injuries to his ankle limited him to only playing 52 games in 2016-17 and 48 in 2017-18.

The injuries took a toll on Reggie and his mental well-being. He reached a point where he was contemplating retirement. Despite his struggles, Reggie developed a positive mindset heading into what ended up being his final season with the Pistons.

Later that season, in February of 2020, Reggie and the Pistons agreed to a contract buyout.

The buyout market is vital as teams can fill holes in their roster for an affordable price. Which is why the Clippers signed Reggie to fill the lack of guard play on the roster. In addition, they also got a player who would become the heart and soul of the team.

Career Renaissance

After contemplating retirement with the Pistons, Reggie was ready for his next chapter.

A highly disappointing run in the bubble had the Clippers set their sights on proving everyone wrong in 2021.

Reggie’s 2020-2021 regular season for the Clippers, albeit inconsistent and one of his lowest scoring years, still demonstrated some bright spots. His three-point percentage drastically increased. The recently adept marksman ranked 12th in league three-point percentage shooting at a 43.3% clip.

Earning yourself a nickname for being one of the league’s clutch playoff performers is quite the tall task. Nevertheless, Reggie was up for it. Blazing his way to the Western Conference Finals, Reggie earned the nickname “Mr. June.”

Skipping up the court, making it rain from everywhere, and explosive drives to the rim made up Reggie’s bread and butter in the 2021 playoffs.

One of his most impressive performances came in a tightly contested game-five victory over the Utah Jazz in the second round. Reggie scored 12 points in the final frame with a handful of tough jumpers and a crowd deafening drive to the rim against reigning defensive player of the year Rudy Gobert. Securing the game-five win along with Paul George, to put the Clippers up 3-2 in the series.

The Clippers found themselves down a frightful 25 points in game six. Despite the insurmountable odds the trio of Reggie, Terance Mann, and George rallied their team for an epic comeback. A team once perceived as fragile and soft had completed a comeback for the ages sending the Clippers to the conference finals for the first time… Ever.

Finding a Home

The Clippers’ inspiring run ended after pushing the series to six games against the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals. Reggie had a very emotionally charged post-game interview sharing how thankful he was for this team and their playoff run.

With the Clippers finally making the Western Conference Finals despite the infamous Clippers Curse, there is plenty of optimism surrounding this team in the near future. Despite the injuries of the team’s two franchise players, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, Reggie has led this injury-riddled team to a comfortable lead as the eighth seed in the West.

Through many trials and tribulations, Reggie has gone from a young and immature backup point guard to a vocal veteran leader on a serious contender.

About Josh Douglas

Josh is a fan of shot creators, big guys that play like guards, and on-court accessories. He is an avid supporter of all things Clippers and 76ers. Josh writes about the L.A. Clippers.

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