The NBA announced in early June 2020 that they’d formed a tentative plan to finish the season after the COVID-19-induced shutdown that had halted the season.
Chosen representatives from each team voted, 28-0, to resume the season under the proposed plan (2 team reps somehow missed the vote).
After the racially-driven uproar and unrest occurred in late May, though, some players were riled up to maybe not resume playing ball.
According to reports, Kyrie Irving (player rep for the Brooklyn Nets) changed his mind after voting in favor of resuming play, and was getting in the ears of many rank-and-file NBA players to maybe not play after all.
I get how some players and fans could question that apparently hypocritical change-of-mind by Kyrie. But, people are allowed to change their minds. Let’s cut Kyrie some slack.
As of this writing, nothing has changed about the resumption plan (yet) — but it’s not exactly that that I’m even writing about.
Stephen Jackson, a former NBA player who’s now a podcaster, part time analyst, and leader for social change after the death of his childhood friend George Floyd, spoke up on the NBA’s plans.
Paraphrasing, Jackson argued that playing in games would be a distraction from the cause of racial equality that Jackson, along with many NBA players and influencers, are after, many of whom have spoken out and followed Jackson’s lead on the topic.
Also fine. Everyone is entitled to an opinion.
I tweet-quoted Jackson’s video and explained that it was easy for Jackson to say what he was saying now, that he wasn’t standing to lose any NBA money himself, on top of the long-term effects of a lost season on NBA players’ money (that would go a lot further than just this season).
Also fine. My opinion, which I’m entitled to.
I posted a stream of consciousness on my Instagram story that same morning (it’s gone now, but you can follow me there) while taking a walk through Miami, in which I mentioned those same points.
I also pointed out why I think no NBA player had or would speak out against Jackson — who, again, isn’t even in the NBA anymore — and his my-way-or-fuck-you mentality: they’re afraid of him.
Maybe you saw NFL quarterback Drew Brees getting bullied on Twitter and Instagram in early June after having the wrong opinion about kneeling during the national anthem. Stephen Jackson had a loud and clear message for Drew that day that, to me, damn near guaranteed the subsequent apology that came less than a day later.
Stephen, I said on IG, is an emotionally-driven guy —a loud “barker” prone to popping off verbally against anyone at any time. This particular profile plays really well on social media (see Trump, Donald) because it entertains the shallow masses.
Shit, it’s entertaining to me, too!
At the same time that I enjoy it, I can also separate from it.
Emotional barkers don’t make for effective leaders because their emotions don’t support dispassionate, strategic thinking (personally, I see Trump’s barking as more of a show than his actual character— he is a reality TV star, after all— he knows exactly what he’s doing to stir people).
I said all this in my story, tagging Jackson in one post for the sake of integrity: if you’re gonna be critical of a person or their actions, give them a chance to see it.
I wasn’t expecting a response from Stephen Jackson; he has nearly 100x more followers than me, probably doesn’t know who I am, and what I’d said wasn’t particularly incendiary. And it was 8AM on a Sunday.
But respond, he did.
— Quoted Stephen Jackson Response —
Everybody got the answers now😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂 everybody want the platform. Hating ain’t the way to get it LIL guy. Let me see u get more accomplished. U mad nobody listening to u? Keep that same energy. I’m glad u know how I’m coming.
Get ya weight and bag up not yo hate lil one. Praying for u.
— End Stephen Jackson Response —
We’ll get to this in a second. First, here’s my reply, copied verbatim:
“No hate Steve. More of a question & observation than anything else.
You can check my track record of helping & uplifting “the people” and compare it to yours any day, if that’s where you’d like to take it.
Either way, I hope you lead the people to the right destination.”
I’m sharing this with you not to excite nor entertain you (though it may do both). It’s because, through this exchange, Stephen Jackson proved to be exactly who I thought he was.
You see, where I’m from, especially playing basketball, I’ve met 300 Stephen Jacksons: Well-intentioned and positively-driven, while also hot-blooded, shallow of thought and more emotional than strategic.
The only difference between the famous Stephen Jacskson and the other 299 I’ve met: the famous one was talented enough to make the NBA and become a success story.
The rest of them aren’t so lucky and become statistics. Stephen Jackson would probably tell you this himself.
What all this means: the Stephen Jackson types, like many people these days, don’t know how to deal with disagreement — with them, though, their go-to recourse is to attack — with words, tweets, hands, whatever’s available at the moment.
You will come across a Stephen Jackson in your life. Don’t try to avoid them. Just arm yourself with the right tools.
1) Stand your ground. Read that message exchange again. Notice how I didn’t stoop to Stephen’s level — but I also held my space.
Bullies like bullying people they can push around (again, see Drew Brees — he got bullied by the entire sports “Left” for 24 hours). When you make clear that you won’t be knocked off your square, bullies will rather find easier targets to attack.
2) Get your weight up. Not in the way Jackson implied to me (funny) but in the way that you’re armed and prepared to battle if you have to.
Some bullies don’t get a message unless it’s delivered in their language.
Stephen Jackson’s profile has widened recently as George Floyd was his friend, thus he has spearheaded the cause for athletes. He’s feeling high and mighty these days. That’s cool with me.
What’s his goal? Let’s assume that it’s to help people who can’t / won’t help themselves and to uplift Black people in general. That’s not a clear outcome and there’s no finish line to that — which is what I criticized — but, fine.
How long have I been doing those things?
So, see how I let him know: I’ve been in that game much longer than he, and I’m also better than him at it. That conversation — the driver of his current fame— is not one he wants to have with me on a public platform.
Let the record show that he didn’t reply. I think he got the message.
3) Stay a level above them. I’m 99% sure Stephen Jackson has no idea who I am — his response is what he says to anyone who would dare to criticize or question him.
Don’t believe me? Google him and see how many others he did the same thing to (even AFTER June 2020— he’ll do it again, trust me).
This isn’t new to him. It’s his everyday character.
That being said, he’s good at that. So I won’t play him at his own game. I play on a level that he can understand — but can’t quite bring himself to comfortably.
An emotionally driven, lashing-out type only fluently understands that type of energy. So I clarified my position — without stopping to his level of petty insults (his first wheelhouse) — and stood my ground without backing down to his attack (his second wheelhouse).
People will disagree with you in life (if you’re saying anything of substance, that is).
Unfortunately, some of these dissenters will resort to attacking you because they lack the tools to handle questioning or challenge in any other constructive way.
Don’t run away from them. Just equip yourself to handle them.
Speaking of disagreement, I dedicated an entire chapter of my book Work On Your Game to Your Interpersonal Game — so you can deal with your own Stephen Jacksons when they come around.
Get the book — along with $1200+ in immediate digital bonuses — here: http://WorkOnYourGameBook.com
Be sure to check the following MasterClasses on this topic —
#466: How To Deal With Trash Talkers & Haters
#465: Conflict: It’s GOOD For You!
#1265: What You Learn Through Conflict
#1264: 3 Communication Skills You Must Master ASAP
#1098: Why You Need To Converse With Those Who Disagree With You
#1097: Why You Must Hunt For Mistakes To Make
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