The Indiana Pacers spoke to the press regarding an incident involving Stephen Jackson's argument-turned-fistfight-turned-drive-by-turned-gunfight. Most of what was said are the typical "comments that don't really mean anything." Or...do they? We ran the comments through our trusty Basketbawful B.S. Translation Computer, and here are the results:
"You see, Sherman? The WABAC Machineclearly indicates that the Pacers are full of it."Donnie Walsh: "We know a lot of you have questions. We've issued a statement saying that we are not going to make any comments. The reason for that is we really don't know what happened. We're trying to find out. We're trying to piece it together. As soon as we get a clear idea of what happened, we'll communicate to you basically what the situation is. Until then, I just don't think it's productive for us to say anything because we really don't know what happened. As far as Stephen Jackson is concerned, he has come out of the hospital. He doesn't have any permanent injuries, or at least none that we are aware of right now. He is banged up, so there will be further word on him as well."
Translation: There's no possible way we can put a positive spin on this, so we're not saying anything until some of the heat blows over. Oh, by the way, Stephon's not dead. And I'm happy about that. I guess.
Darrell Armstrong: "We are just trying to stay focused and not live in the past. I haven't been here. This is my first year. Since I've been here, I know the guys have been doing the right things. (We have been) coming in here working hard, practice hard (and) playing hard. We've had three good practices. It is kind of a little draining, but everybody is thinking of Stephen Jackson, and we are just hoping he is just doing fine. I know all the guys will probably go over to his house and eat him out of house today and make sure he is alright."
Translation: We don't want to think or talk about it, so even though it just happened, we're going to act like it's ancient history we're already moving on from. And anyway, none of this falls on me, 'cause I just got here. Did I really say guys are going to "eat him out of house today"? What the hell am I talking about?
Armstron: (On whether Jackson, Marquis Daniels, Jimmie Hunter and Jamaal Tinsley are victims): "I don't know. I really don't care. I just want to make sure we get Stephen back on the floor. I felt like his energy and enthusiasm and everything he's been doing this year this year so far was great for our team. He was talking out there being a leader. As he say, he is blessed to be in the league. He was doing all the right things."Translation: Of course they're not victims! Are you crazy? They went to a strip club and got into a fight that resulted in Jax getting hit by a car, after which he totally went off, guns blazing. But I can't say that, because my team'll get pissed at me. So here are some generic compliments about Stephen Jackson. Please leave me alone now.
Rick Carlisle: (On what he gathered from his meeting with Stephen Jackson) "Stephen is very lucky. It was a potentially life-threatening situation that was averted. Right now, the biggest emotion that I feel is relief that he is going to be OK. X-Rays were negative for any fractures in his entire body. MRIs were negative with respect to soft tissue or structural damage to his knees. He has some scrapes and bruises and so forth. He's a guy that's going to bounce back. We've seen it before. He took a hell of a fall against the Lakers last year and two days later he was playing against Detroit. I don't expect that he'll be out a real long time. We are just relieved."
Translation: Goddamn lunatic. I can't believe he got hit by a car and he's okay. Why does Larry keep sticking me with the crazy bastards? Is he still pissed off that I beat out David Thirdkill for the last roster spot on that '86 Celtics team? I mean, Sly Williams got cut before the regular season even started, so we managed to pick up Thirdkill anyway. Larry can't really be holding that against me. Can he?!
Carlisle: (On Stephen Jackson's emotional state) "He was touched this morning that so many people came. There were several players. Our whole coaching staff was there. His mom -- I spoke to her on the phone -- was very concerned obviously. The important thing was that he's OK. We were all in the room when they stitched up his lip. Our guys wanted to be there to try to help him through this. It's a tough deal."
Translation: He's still nucking futs. The car didn't hit him hard enough to make him normal, if that's even possible. But he's feeling pretty good about everybody pretending they care about him right now. That won't last. He'll still get booed at Conseco Fieldhouse this year, just like last year, and the year before that. Why didn't Larry or Donnie trade this guy?
Carlisle: (On what he has to say to the fans): "As a franchise, we have to take responsibility for what goes on. Our players realize that being out there that late during training camp is not the right thing. We know it. It was an error in judgment and it is going to have to change. The good news is that a potentially ominous situation was averted. A guy who is not only am important player but an important person to me and a lot of our guys is going to be OK physically. That's good news."Translation: It's not our fault he's crazy. Please, fans, you have to believe us. He told us a few weeks ago he'd changed. We're pretty much stuck with him, too, because nobody wants to trade for a volatile 2-guard with a history of sowing discontent, participating in rioutous brawls, pouting over his number of shot attempts, and, of course, firing his gun into the air after a strip club showdown. Fuck.
Carlisle: (On if the team will have a curfew): "We talk to our players a lot about being responsible. They know they are very visible. They are going to be targets in many instances. We are going to keep talking to them about the hours they keep and the places they go. There are always going to be a lot of attention. There are always going to be people looking to stir things up with them. This should go as a lesson learned. Obviously, we are very fortunate that there is no really serious physical injury going on here, and we have to move to get better."
Translation: Pffft!! Are you kidding me? These guys don't listen to me as it is. Like when I'm calling for a double pick, with an option to maybe turn it into a flex play, and they just ignore me and run another goddamn isolation. And who gets blamed for those crappy 85-82 games we always get into? Me, that's who.
Carlisle: (On if the team will place penalties on the players) "That is something that will have to be determined as we size up the situation from a front office-standpoint. In many ways, our guys were trying to do the right thing and get out of this place. Fortunately, again, in terms of physical harm Stephen is banged up but he will be OK."Translation: We're waiting to see what the fan reaction is. If people are really pissed about it, we'll fine him, and maybe suspend him for a couple meaningless regular season games. By the way, did we mention we love him and he's not seriously hurt? Because that's what's really important.
Carlisle: (On how long Jackson will be out) "I don't (know). I do know the diagnostic tests for the most part were completely negative in terms of any serious structural injuries or fractures. He is very sore because he got hit by a car. You would be sore if you got hit by a car. He's a tough guy and he’s going to bounce back."Translation: Aw, jeez, I don't know. He got hit by a freaking car. We've got another guy -- who was with Jackson at the strip club, by the way -- who's out with a sore toenail. Today's basketball players are pussies. One time when I was with the Celtics, Robert Parish's arm fell off during a game! And he didn't even ask to be taken out. He still shot 5-for-6 and grabbed 10 or 11 rebounds I think. We just stuffed the arm into a Gatorade cooler, which had some ice in it. They re-attached it after the game. I think Chief had some tendonitis for a few weeks, but he didn't miss any time. Damn, we were tough back then.
Carlisle: (On his disappointment with his players) "We've had three very productive days leading up to today. Today was another productive day, especially considering the circumstance. The work that you have to do in terms of doing the right thing on a day-to-day basis could not be clearer than it is on a day like today, and we know that. The facts are going to come forward as we move forward. I think we'll be OK. I really do."Translation: Of course I'm disappointed in these idiots. But again, I can't say that. So I'm just going to "move on," which means I expect to get hammered tonight, and then fall asleep with by head in my wife's lap, sobbing like a baby.
Al Harrington: "It's not a setback. It's an unfortunate situation. I think Jack (Stephen Jackson) was put in a situation where I guess he just had to react. We're happy that he is OK, and we're looking forward to getting him back on the court."Translation: Of course it's a setback, but this team has gotten pretty good at acting like everything's normal over the last couple years. We have Ron Artest to thank for that, you know? Because if this had happened back during the mid-90s, the fans would be lynching this guy. Seriously. We just want this shit to be over, you feel me?
Harrington: (On if players run into people in the public who have bad intentions) "Definitely. That could have happened at a restaurant. It was unfortunate that it was a strip club, but like I said we are going to stick behind him 100% and get him back on the court as soon as possible to help get to the ultimate goal and have a successful season."Translation: That could have happened in a restaurant, if the restaurant was maybe owned by the mob, and Jax owed the mob boss some money. Sure. But it happened at a strip club because people aren't thinking straight when it's 3 a.m., and they're drunk, and they've got to go home and explain to their wife why they spent all of little Suzy's college fund on five lap dances from a cheap whore who probably transmitted some weird disease right through their pants. It's a high stress situation. But you do it for the ass and titties...ass and titties...
Harrington: (On what he would say to fans) "I would tell them to let this one go. Like I said, it was an unfortunate situation. This is a new team and a new attitude. We are going to bring the excitement on the basketball court and win. Stick with us. It's early. The season hasn't even started yet. It is something that was unfortunate."Translation: You might as well stop complaining. It's going to be the same old stuff as last year. Expect a solid start to be stopped short due to injury, followed by a brief period of over achievement, followed by a longer period of underachievement, followed by internal discord and discontent, followed by an improbable playoff run (thanks to a weak as hell Eastern Conference), followed by another disappointing first round exit. Just let it go already. So, you know...go Colts!!
Harrington: (On if he's concerned about the image) "Obviously, we have a lot of work to do in the community anyway if you look at things that have happened in the last two years, so this is something that we are going to handle."Translation: Now we're going to have to do twice as many of those stupid "NBA Cares" programs. That's like community service for professional athletes, by the way. You don't really think we care, do you? We don't. But we'll keep pretending to.
Jermaine O'Neal: "I don't really know the entire situation of what was going on. As far as the basketball, I think everyone is coming in working extremely, extremely hard. I'll let people make their own decisions. Everyone is grown. All in All, I think the guy (Stephen Jackson) has been giving a total effort. He has really been preparing himself basketball-wise. Once I find out more information of what happened last night, I'll be able to comment a little bit more."Translation: Man, now I'm starting to understand how Kevin Garnett feels. I've been giving this team 20-10 every game for the 50 or so games I play each season, and they keep surrounding me with a bunch of angry, maladjusted misfits. I'm never going to win an MVP if this keeps up. Can we trade for Sam Cassell?
O'Neal: (On the status of Stephen Jackson) "The fact of the matter is that Jack is hurt. That is the most important thing. Beyond basketball, it's just like your job. You have to be concerned about somebody's well-being. None of us know what happened last night, we just know that he was hurt. That's the most important for us, and everything else is going to fall into place in trying to figure out what happened."Translation: He got hit by a car, people. What do you expect me to say? He feels great and expects to return to the strip club as soon as possible? Nah, man, he's going to lay low for a few days, and then he's going to come back and act like he has a "renewed sense of responsibility" and whatever else Donnie and Larry tell him to say. But seriously, he got hit by a car. Damn.
O'Neal: (On Jackson's health) "That's not really my story to tell. I don't know enough of the story. I can't tell you how he looks or how he's doing, because that's up for him to tell. We support him 100%. We hope that he gets back to the court as soon as possible."Translation: Do I look like Stephen Jackson to you? Am I wearing a pair or scrubs or a lab coat? Then how the hell am I supposed to know? I just want him to hurry up and get back to practice, because he owes me about a hundred dollars in ones.
O'Neal: (On whether the event 'takes the wind out' of the team): "We've been through a lot of stuff. Now we are prepared to deal with (situations). My job is to make sure that everybody is prepared and focused. We had a heck of a practice today, especially considering the situation that happened last night. We don't have time anymore to let the train slow down. We have to continue to prepare. We have to continue to improve and create a product that this city is going to be proud of. If one guy goes down, then you have to depend on the rest of the guys."Translation: After all this crap that's gone down these last two or three years, man, we can deal with anything. If somebody told me Jax got his head ripped off by the Incredible Hulk, I'd expect that dude to be back at practice in three, four days. Tops. We've all got to band together and work hard if I'm going to win MVP. Are you guys with me, or what?
O'Neal: (On his message to the fans) "Our preparation and our dedication has to be the same. We can't get sidetracked. We can't let things bother us. We are going to deal with them the way we have to deal with them, and we are going to keep moving. That's just how it is. We're at a mind frame right now that we have to come out and we have to show this city our dedication and our preparation. Anything outside of that is going to be something on the side. The main goal is get together our product that is presentable to the city and presentable to the NBA, and we have to focus on that."Translation: Stephen Jackson got into a fight at a strip club. He got ran over by a car. He shot his gun in the air. There was pot in Jamaal Tinsley's car. We're going to just pretend none of that ever happened. It's all about the denial. Every time anybody asks us a question about this situation, we're going to blow some smoke up thier ass about how the important thing is Jax isn't dead, and how we support him, and how we're dedicated to the fans, and how we're focused on winning. Because we know, man, we know that as long as we win, and maybe I get the MVP, that everybody's going to just forget about the crazy shit we do off the court. Just go back in time and ask the 1996-1998 version of Dennis Rodman. So just leave us alone, okay. We promise you: nothing like this will ever happen again. Until next time.