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Jackson Discourages, While Williams Encourages

Busy day in Indiana yesterday, with Pacers guard Stephen Jackson getting a felony charge of criminal recklessness and misdemeanor counts of battery and disorderly conduct and with Jay Williams returning to action more than three years after a motocycle accident nearly left him without a leg, let alone a career. The latter serves as an inspiring tale of determination and will following an act of stupidity, the former just a tale of stupidity.

Jackson's story continues to grow more perplexing by the day. He turned himself in Wednesday and plead not guilty to the charges. He was expected to be released later today after posting $10,000 bond. By now, most are aware of the incident involving Jackson and three of his Indiana Pacers' teammates at an Indianapolis strip club last week. According to court documents, four Pacers -- Jackson, Jamaal Tinsley, Marquis Daniels and Jimmie "Snap" Hunter -- and several of their friends were leaving the club when they exchanged words with a man. A scuffle ensued with Jackson getting hit by a car, allegedly kicking a disabled man and fired a gun into the air five times, reportedly in self-defense.

I could keep going into detail about the situation, but my friend, Lang Whitaker, from Slam Magazine gives the best Cliffs Notes version of the police report.

I covered Jackson for a year in Atlanta and I always enjoy talking to him. He may be a hot head, but he always said what was on his mind. I like the guy, but he really has to grow up. Jackson has been roundly criticized, most loudly by former Pacer and current TNT basketball analyst Reggie Miller who openly questioned how the Pacers could support Jackson, saying, "You shouldn't stand behind a player that is someone slapping you guys in the face during the middle of training camp being out at a strip club at 3 o'clock in the morning shooting it up like it's the Wild, Wild West." Jackson was initially portrayed as a victim in the case, but he could be in more serious trouble because he is still on probation from a Michigan criminal case stemming from an attack on fans during a game against the Detroit Pistons two years ago. If Jackson is found guilty of the felony, he could receive between six months to three years in prison. Jackson could also face three months in jail in Detroit if authorities there determine he has violated his probation.

Jackson hasn't really endeared himself with the people of Indianapolis. He was one of the principle figures in the brawl, has had a shaky performance on the court, which led to him being booed at Conseco Fieldhouse and now this - only a few after saying he wasn't going to ba moody malcontent anymore. What was that old saying from Forrest Gump's mother about "Stupid?"

On to a more positive story. As detailed in Sam Smith's column in today's Chicago Tribune, Williams was back on the floor as a member of the New Jersey Nets, attempting to get his career going again. He had just two points, two rebounds and four turnovers in 17 minutes of a 102-89 loss. Williams no longer possesses the breakneck speed or the incredible hops he used to torment Maryland fans during his time with Duke, and he is a longshot to remain in New Jersey, but the fact that he is back playing basketball is an encouraging sight. Of course, Williams made a dumb mistake by breaking the rules of his contract to ride a bicycle and in many ways, he's still paying the price. At the time of the accident, doctors told him he would have to have his left leg amputated. He also suffered a fractured pelvis, which has forced him to wear a plate in his abdomen that sets off metal detectors at the airport.

Though they weren't obligated to do so, the Chicago Bulls, the team that drafted him No. 2 in 2002 in hopes that he could get them out of the post-Jordan hole, still gave Williams $3 million despite his error in judgement. But Williams didn't plan on using the money as some retirement plan. He worked in the studio as a college basketball analyst while working hard on a comeback. Williams hasn't given up on himself despite the odds being stacked solidly against him.

By Michael Lee  |  October 12, 2006; 12:22 PM ET
 
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