Stephen Jackson spoke loudly with his actions on that fateful night in Detroit in 2004. When a Pistons fan threw a beer cup at Ron Artest, Jackson boldly followed his Pacers teammate into the stands to engage in one of the ugliest brawls in sports history.
So when Jackson calls Artest (now known as Metta World Peace) "one of my brothers," as Jackson did on the 1051 Breakfast Club radio show Monday while promoting his rap album, Jack of All Trades, he is not blowing smoke. A guy does not exchange blows with a few thousand crazed fans to defend a teammate he only sort of likes.
Still, there are limits to Jackson's loyalty. Fighting a bunch of complete strangers is one thing. Letting World Peace rap on his album is another thing entirely.
"If I'm with you, I'm with you and I'm going to ride with you," Jackson said, shaking his head in disdain. "But as far as music, I can't vouch for his music. … I put my career on the line for him, going into the stands and fighting. I'll do that for any one of my brothers, but I can't vouch for his music."
For any would-be beer-throwers in the audience, Jackson would like you all to know that he and World Peace no longer have a relationship.
"I lost $3 million behind that and there was no 'Thank you' or nothing," Jackson said. "The craziest part about that was, in the locker room afterwards, he sat back and looked at me and asked me, were we going to get in trouble? That lets you know he ain't all the way there."
World Peace, needless to say, does not appear on Jackson's album. Former Celtics guard Marquis Daniels, one of the more well-respected rappers among NBA players, does make an appearance. That is quite an accomplishment for Daniels, because Jackson interrupted a question by the radio host about other player-rappers by declaring, "They wack."
In case anybody is wondering, Jackson got to be a much better rapper than most players through lots of practice. While other players spend the summer working on their games, Jackson is dedicated to his craft. By his own account, he has picked up a basketball once since the Spurs' season ended.
"I rap" in the offseason, Jackson said. "I don't work out. I haven't worked out my whole career. That's just me."
Check out the full interview in the video below. It is absolutely worth a listen.