Posted by Neil Paine on April 1, 2010
On the streets of Anytown, U.S.A., people are always asking me, who's the MVP? Well, some folks will tell you that the Most Valuable Player of the 2009-10 NBA season should be LeBron James or Kevin Durant. And there are even some people clinging to the so-2006 notion that Kobe Bryant has been the league's most indispensable player.
But those people are wrong. The real MVP of the 2010 campaign is obviously Stephen Jackson.
Just consider the other MVP "candidates": LeBron's Cavs could easily be a .500 team without him in the lineup snapping their imaginary photos. Ditto the Thunder, whose young talent has so many analysts fawning that I'm sure they could out-free throw an aging Celtics team even without their waiflike superstar getting every call. And don't even get me started on the Lakers, who still resemble the '96 Bulls at their peak even without Bryant in the mix.
But the Bobcats without Jackson? Unthinkable. He's the face of that franchise, a rock that has been there for the good times -- but not the bad times, because he's so great that he would never allow bad times to occur.
Consider Charlotte's predicament before Jackson was acquired in a trade for the well-regarded, All-Star-caliber veterans Raja Bell and Vladimir Radmanovic: their winning percentage was 33%, the fans were giving up hope, Larry Brown was about to leave for a recently-vacated D-League gig, and the team was considering inserting part-time executive/full-time golfer Michael Jordan into the lineup just to teach the young players on the team how to be ungracious when speaking publicly. Simply put, the Bobcats were a disaster.
Enter Captain Jack.
First and foremost, Stephen brought an immeasurable level of class and professionalism to the 'Cats, just like he did in previous stops like Indiana and Golden State. His hunger and leadership skills are unquestioned, and the previously-unfocused Bobcats gravitated to him immediately because of his unparalleled drive to excel. He taught them how to win with toughness, grit, and intangibles like his 21.5 PPG scoring average, in addition to single-handedly causing Gerald Wallace to believe in hope again, leading to the forward's first All-Star selection.
The results on the court have been undeniable. Compared to the Bobcats' 2004-05 season, the winning percentage of the Jackson-led 2010 team has gone up 33 points, and the Cats are on the verge of securing their first winning season -- and first playoff berth -- ever. None of this would have been possible without the steady hand of Captain Jack guiding the team, the front office, the fans, and the janitor who cleans the toilets at Time Warner Cable Arena. Plus you probably didn't know this, but for every point of Jackson's scoring average, 6,100 endangered whales are cured of cancer. Top that, "chosen one".
Now, some slanderous pundits have decried Jackson's low shooting percentages and would like to classify him as a "chucker", but those probable Al-Queda supporters don't love the game like Stephen Jackson does, and therefore couldn't possibly understand the true importance of what he brings to this Charlotte club day in and day out. Stephen told me personally in a dream that efficiency rates are irrelevant to him and should be to you too, unless you want to be a pocket-protector-wearing nerd who hates America. The bottom line is that Jackson is a true winner, from his championship with San Antonio to his rebuilding of the Hawks into the contender you see today, his heroism in single-handedly breaking up the brawl at the Palace in 2004, and the special role he played in the Warriors' 1975 championship season. Besides, you can't measure something like wins and losses with numbers, and you shouldn't even try.
Oh, and did I mention that Stephen's a great humanitarian and courageous fighter for justice? Case in point: remember that time he fired shots at a nightclub? The biased media ended up putting their "spin" on things, but truth-knowers know that Jax was actually protecting the dancers from a zombie attack (because everyone knows mushy stripper brains are the tastiest).
In short, Jackson has the heart of a real champion, LeBron & Durant don't (as evidenced their their zero career rings), and Kobe scowls a lot and therefore is a bad teammate/human being. So if you're voting for just one MVP this season, don't pick a chump. Pick Stephen Jackson, the greatest American hero I can think of. You won't be sorry.