An Underage Sports Journal For Students of the Game

Noah Weitzel

Noah Weitzel

Reggie Jackson thanks Clippers for ‘saving’ him as their season comes to a close

As the Los Angeles Clippers’ season fell to a conclusion on Wednesday night, Reggie Jackson sent a tearful message to the organization in his post-game press conference.

“It was the most challenging year. The most fun year. Not sure when you’re gonna play. Ups and downs. Guys getting injured. Still finding my way in this locker room,” Jackson said. “First thing I told those guys was ‘thank you for saving me. I appreciate it.’ I appreciate every guy in that locker room. I appreciate Paul [George] for getting on that phone last year and the end of the season when I was talking about a buyout with Detroit.”

After signing a 5-year $80M deal in 2015 with the Pistons, Jackson’s career was defined by injuries and he was never comfortable enough to stand out as he did in this year’s playoffs. In February 2020, Detroit reached an agreement to buyout Jackson. From there on out, he didn’t know what was in store with his future in the NBA. During an interview with ESPN, Jackson explained how he seriously considered retirement prior to the season. “I was ready to leave. I was ready to give up,” Jackson told Ramona Shelburne. “I thought I was going to retire because I just couldn’t get healthy… It just started weighing on me… I just felt like maybe it wasn’t meant to be.”

But Los Angeles took a presumed risk on Jackson, signing the guard to a one-year veteran minimum deal at $2.3M — not realizing that he would take part in a significant role throughout the 2021 NBA playoffs. “Honestly, this team has empowered me,” Jackson told reporters. “I’ve gone through my career trying to make the right play and not necessarily just being myself and coming out and playing the game. “But the more I just continue to be myself, the more this team empowered me to be myself, I’ve been able to find success.”

Jackson played a remarkable part in Los Angeles’ postseason averaging 17.8 points per game on high efficiency at 48.3 FG% and 40.8% from behind the arc. Despite a notable absence from Kawhi Leonard, Jackson encouraged the Clippers with superior on-court spacing and effective play in the mid-range — out of isolation. Jackson was also in the top 5 of total minutes played during this year’s postseason alongside his colleague, Paul George.

“I think that group revitalized me. They found ways to push me every day, to challenge me, ask me to be better, encourage me to be better. We became family. This has been an extremely special year under these extremely difficult circumstances that everybody’s been under with the pandemic, COVID. Last year at the half, the way this team took me in, the way this core group welcomed me, the way that they’ve allowed me to be myself, like I said, I’m forever thankful for this group.”

It’s no secret that many teams will express interest in the strengthened guard. Sources say the Celtics and 76ers will become top suitors for Jackson. However, he’ll likely re-sign with Los Angeles next season as the team holds his bird rights — thus L.A. can exceed the salary cap to sign him. 

“I’m thankful for everything I’ve experienced here. This city making me feel at home, this organization welcoming me. My quirks, my strengths, my weaknesses. I’m not here today without this team. I’m not still playing without this team. I thank them for everything. In my heart this will forever be a special year. Like I said, it sucks that we didn’t win it, but I ride with those guys. Those guys rode with me all year and I ride with those guys. That’s what makes this one tougher. That makes this one extremely tough. To be the ones that, not getting the win, to be the ones at the end of the season, not the ones hoisting the trophy.”


  1. I mean, this dude was AMAZING. You could detect the talent and potential that Jackson had in Detroit, but as stated in the article, he could never get entirely healthy to a point where he was able to produce consistently on a nightly basis. Overjoyed to see him thriving, let alone in a playoff environment.