Friday , May , 19 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Stephen Jackson Opens Academy in His Name

Given that there are only seven teams left in the playoffs, that means that the players of the remaining twenty-three are doing what they do when hoops isn’t on the menu. Typical off-season time-fillers range from running a business to partying to simply spending time with the family. Less common as a summer activity, however, is founding an academic institution, but that’s exactly what was on the agenda for Stephen Jackson, who today opened the Stephen Jackson Academy in his hometown of Port Arthur, Texas.

I hate to be one who always does this, but right now I’m trying to unearth the hidden elements of insanity in this story. It’s certainly a noble venture for which I give Stephen Jackson all due respect, but I simply can’t take this report at face value.

The Stephen Jackson Academy, scheduled to open in August, will emphasize academics and fine arts. It will initially be open to children in kindergarten through sixth grade, with plans to add grades seven through 12 later.

Also to be offered are classes teaching kids how to look scary even when they’re smiling, and a seminar examining the quickest routes to a fan whose face you need to break. (Just kidding, Jax. Please don’t bite me.)

Stephen Jackson Opens Academy in His Name

Honestly, though, it seems as if Jackson has gone into this with the right attitude, and for that he deserves our respect. As a player whose NBA career was directly delayed by academic issues, Jackson knows as well as anyone the importance of good schooling.
He was offered a scholarship by the University of Arizona but failed to qualify academically.
Jackson’s mother, Judyette, cited that experience as part of their motivation for opening a new school.
"I don’t want any kids to (have to) leave (a local) school to get the classes they need," she told the Port Arthur News.

If someone can figure out how exactly it is that this news confirms Stephen Jackson’s reputation as one of the nuttiest in the NBA, please let me know. Otherwise, I’m going to have to leave this post on a note of praise for what he’s done, and you know how I hate to compliment people.