NBA: Jackson talks with Sacramento Bee writer Sam Amick
Salisbury native Bobby Jackson announced his retirement from professional basketball on Friday. He talked with Sacramento Bee writer Sam Amick:
On whether it’s really true he’s announcing his retirement…
“Yeah, I’m about to hang ’em up. I had a great career. I played 12 great years, longer than anybody imagined, making good money. I think the economy is the reason why a lot of guys are not playing right now. And I’m the type of guy who doesn’t like sitting around waiting on anything. So I feel like I have an opportunity to do bigger and better things and pursue that. It’s better than waiting on somebody to wait for somebody to call me and pick me up.
“I’m just sitting here. I’m not doing anything, so I’d rather do something else. I’m not saying I don’t want to play. I feel like I still can play and I want to play, but it’s not the best situation for me right now. I feel like I don’t have to prove myself to anybody. It has just come to a situation where you have to pick your time to bow out gracefully. I could be like the rest of these … free agents out there waiting on teams to call them. But at the end of the day, I feel like if they wanted me to they would’ve called me over the summertime. I don’t want to be one of those guys who is trying to hang on one more year or two more years, jumping from team to team.. I’ve been (traded) a lot, and it took a great restraint for me, pride-wise, to say, ‘You know what, even though I feel like I can still play, to be like, (shoot) maybe it’s time to hang it up and do something that’s good for me and not have to wait on someone else.
“It’ll be nice to not deal with the questions, whether I can still play or questioning my toughness or if I’m durable. All those things come into play. As a player, that’s what you get questioned on ó ‘Do you think he’ll want to play a lot of minutes? Will he be (OK) being a third guard? Is his body going to hold up?’ You hear all those things, and you’re thinking, ‘Man, if they’re saying that now, what are they going to say next year?’
“I want to be able to say I left on my own terms. I didn’t get pushed out. Even though the economy is still bad. There’s a ton of guys getting hurt right now. I think about that, but I also think about life after basketball. The 12 years I played won’t come close to anything I do after basketball. That was a great time of life. It’s time to go for bigger goals and move forward.”
Asked if a good offer to return to the floor came along in the next few months if he’d pull a Favre and jump right back out of retirement…
“Nah, I don’t think so, because once I dedicate myself to something and move past it, I don’t move back. Not saying it couldn’t happen, but I don’t want to be one of those guys who keeps retiring and comes back out of retirement. That’s just how I feel. You retire for a reason. If I had a chance to win a ring with one of the top contenders in the game, would I do it? I don’t know.”
On what his role will be with the Sacramento Kings…”It’s going to be a lot of roles. No. 1, it will be helping in the community with the players, doing some scouting, all those things come into play. I thought I really wanted to coach, but I weighed my options and was like, ‘Man, being a coach is like being a player.’ You’ve got to travel and do all the things coaches do. I kind of want to be at home more, spend time with the kids because they’re getting older. Learning from (Kings basketball president) Geoff (Petrie) and (vice basketball president) Wayne (Cooper), and trying to become one of the best GMs in the game, that’s probably what’s on my mind right now.”
On his front-office aspirations and the fact that he’d always said he wanted to coach…”For me, I could do both, but you can’t wear two hats in this business as a coach and a GM … I can’t tell you I’ll never be a coach, but my main focus is being in a front office and turning this thing around and finding a solution for everything.”
On the scouting aspect and specifically what kind of scouting he planned on doing…
“I don’t know yet. I think that’s something me and Geoff have to sit down and talk about, because we haven’t really talked in detail about what they want me doing. We touched upon it a little bit, but other than that we haven’t sat down and laid out in stone what I’m really going to be doing. Like I said, I’m going to be wearing a lot of hats, and I’m fine with it. I’m a very inquisitive guy. I want to know what everybody’s job is, what they do, learn from the best ó learn from Geoff, learn from Wayne, learn from (assistant general manager) Jason (Levien), learn from (director of scouting) Scotty Sitrling, (director of player personnel) Jerry Reynolds. You learn from all those (guys) because you never know what sort of position you’ll be in down the road.”
On what the official announcement was like for him…”You’re sad because every player hates for this day to come. Don’t get me wrong. But also, you look ahead to the future and you see that you can walk away from the game when you wanted to walk away. Everything is in tact. My family is happy. I don’t have to play to get another contract. It’s a sad day but it’s also a happy day because I’m still around basketball, I’m retiring when I wanted to retire, I get to work for an organization and franchise that I’ve grown fond of and try to get the community back involved in supporting the Kings and us getting out and playing the way we’re supposed to play and putting a good product on the court. It’s all those things.”
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