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Nuggets Journal: Reggie Jackson Is More Important Than You Think

Nuggets Journal: Reggie Jackson Is More Important Than You Think

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Jackson is considered one of baseball's all-time great hitters, yet his 2,597 strikeouts don't usually garner much attention.

Jackson achieved greatness during his 21-year career, leading the American League in home runs and being part of five World Series teams. Additionally, he was named the American League MVP in 1973.

1. He’s the glue that holds the team together.

Jackson's football career took off, and soon enough he was on his way to becoming a baseball star. As a junior at Cheltenham High School - one of few black students there - Jackson harbored dreams of playing professionally; unfortunately, during that same season he suffered two separate injuries: twisting his knee and snapping his neck.

Doctors warned him in both cases that he might never walk again. Yet, despite these odds, he returned to both sports and went on to play for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Jackson made history while playing for Baltimore as one of few African-American players on an Orioles affiliated amateur team and earned himself a starting spot on their major league roster.

Before his career in the pros, Reggie Jackson was one of the best high school football players in America. He received heavy recruiting from Georgia and Alabama despite never having a black player before him at those schools.

Jackson rose through the Yankees organization after playing in the minors. As part of their winning teams in 1977 and 1978, he then made it to both the American League East title and then World Series the following year. During their postseason victory over Kansas City Royals, Jackson played an instrumental role.

Jackson wasn't a particularly impressive hitter, but his home run power made up for it and helped the Yankees extend their winning streak to 116 games in six years. Jackson also took home the MVP award during this epic triumph as part of an unprecedented six-year franchise streak.

Last season, the Clippers' playoff run illustrated why Jackson's presence was so essential. He served as the glue that held their team together and when Kawhi Leonard suffered a season-ending knee injury during Game 7 of the 2021 Western Conference Finals, Jackson became an even more crucial piece on the court.

2. He’s a leader.

As Reggie Jackson joined the Nuggets during the 2012-13 season, there was much anticipation surrounding him. He was seen as an outstanding player and leader of the team.

He was an invaluable addition to the team, filling in as backup point guard for Russell Westbrook and providing him with extra minutes during playoff games. However, it wasn't expected that he would replace Westbrook at his starting spot; it was believed that Westbrook would be able to recover from his injured knee.

However, during the 2013-14 season Jackson proved to be more significant than expected. He served as an inspiring leader for the team and helped them win several games.

He was an impressive shooter and defender, scoring 32 points in game 4 against Memphis Grizzlies during the 2014 NBA playoffs - a career high.

Another characteristic that makes Reggie an exceptional leader is his humility and kindness. He always acknowledges other players for their contributions while remaining diligently hardworking.

He is highly motivated by his family and job. He takes great pride in his career, striving to excel and achieve new heights every day.

Furthermore, he is an effective communicator and strong leader both on and off the court. Furthermore, his sense of humor makes him easy to get along with and make friends easily.

Reggie Jackson was raised in a small Pennsylvania town by his father who owned an dry cleaning and tailoring business; his mother worked at a restaurant. As a teenager, Reggie began playing sports like basketball, football, and baseball while also acting as an extra for school plays.

3. He’s a shooter.

Reggie Jackson has had a variety of roles during his short career. He's started at point guard for an elite squad, been the sole ballhandler on a bench unit, been called upon for off-ball closer duties during crunch time lineups, and even started at shooting guard during the Western Conference Finals.

Jackson has proven to be a proficient shooter. His knack for creating his own shots, whether it's a jumper off a screen, three-pointer off pull-up or tough end-of-clock shot against running time has allowed him to become an effective threat across the board.

Jackson emerged as a key cog in the Thunder offense this season, filling in for Paul George who was often absent. His impressive statistics slightly exceeded those of his career-to-date. Jackson's clutch shotmaking, unique on-court presence and personality, as well as his dependability all made him an instant fan favorite.

Although their production wasn't what the Thunder had hoped for, Jackson's performance did win him over fans and convince the organization to extend his contract this offseason. That dedication is expected to keep Jackson among the league's elite players for many years to come.

That being said, he has had some inefficient shooting this year. According to FiveThirtyEight, his 34% accuracy rate ranks 197th out of 279 qualifying players who have played at least 500 minutes this season.

Jackson has played in tighter defenses this season, so how much of that success can be attributed to his own preparation? Lue has praised Jackson for his attention to detail and willingness to study film.

4. He’s a defender.

Jackson is a defensive back who has shown some improvement throughout this season, though his focus and speed of learning on film have allowed him to adjust quicker than expected to the Clippers' offense. Jackson has already become an invaluable member of their defense.

He may not be the best defender, but he's still a reliable backup point guard who can protect the rim and score points when his team needs him. His game revolves around passing first and shooting second; additionally, he displays patience and precision when handling the ball to maximize every opportunity.

His ability to defend pick-and-rolls is a testament to his patience and willingness to make an essential play. He doesn't get sped up by pressure defenses, and his length makes it difficult for defenders to cover him up.

The Clippers' pick-and-roll attack had become somewhat stagnant, needing some creative playmaking, ballhandling and scoring from the second unit. Jackson has brought all those qualities to a group that had become dependent on Williams-Harrell pick-and-roll in an offensive system designed with defense in mind.

This type of play often calls for another player to step in at the rim, meaning Jackson must step between two defenders and get his shot off. Here, he relies on his length for success - and hits it beautifully for an easy two points.

Jackson has improved as a defender in recent weeks, though he still falls short of All-Defense honors. He doesn't make enough shots to remain in the rotation and occasionally miscommunicates with teammates on assignments or fills lanes improperly. Jackson can be an effective team defender but is prone to regression back into bad form which is why the Clippers take such great care with him.

5. He’s a ball handler.

Reggie Jackson is an accomplished point guard with 12 seasons in the NBA. Though not the best ball handler in the league, he has proven to be a reliable player for Los Angeles Clippers over the past three years. Additionally, Reggie knows how to run an offense and make good decisions as a leader.

His father was an influential figure in Reggie's early life, providing him with the stability he needed as he developed into the successful businessman he became in Wyncote, Pennsylvania. Working hard for his family and providing Reggie with a secure home environment as well as teaching him discipline to become the best athlete he could be proved beneficial throughout Reggie's development.

Jackson had achieved great success as a four-sport varsity athlete at high school; he participated in football, basketball, baseball and track. As such he became an attractive prospect to scouts who came from all over to watch him compete.

Jackson was selected with the second pick of the 1966 MLB draft by Kansas City Athletics. Following a brief period in the minors, he joined Oakland Athletics in 1967 and remained with them until 1975.

Jackson was instrumental in the Athletics' two World Series victories and led them to back-to-back division titles in 1970 and 1971.

After his playing days were over, Jackson went on to become a prominent minority baseball activist and owner of a NASCAR team. Additionally, he hosted his own television show for Nickelodeon called Reggie Jackson's World of Sports.

Reggie was an icon during his baseball career and became the first Black player to win a major league baseball title in 1972. Additionally, he became the first African American player ever named MVP of a baseball league.

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