Five questions with Spurs guard/forward Stephen Jackson:
Q: This [return to the Spurs] is something you've wanted for a long time, isn't it?
A: I never should have left. I used to hit Tim [Duncan] every summer and I would always tell him, "Man, get me back there, get me back there." I'm just glad it happened at this point. To be back with the team that really opened up my career for me, it feels good. It feels great. In any job you have, it always feels good to feel wanted.
Q: So what really happened in Milwaukee?
A: I just think it was a tough situation. I was used to winning and I kind of felt like I was in a situation where losing was accepted. And that's not me. It's something I could never do, so I think that's why me and coach [Scott Skiles] clashed ... we're losing and I feel like I should be playing more and I'm not playing. I didn't go to college, but it felt like a college atmosphere and that wasn't me. There was a lot of negative stuff going on there and I didn't want to feed into it. And that's why I felt I needed to leave.
Q: Did you have any idea that your dream trade was in the works?
A: The best part about being in Milwaukee was [Bucks general manager] John Hammond. Great guy, stand-up guy. He told me all the situations, all the teams that were calling, so nothing was blind. He told me that San Antonio had called, but the situation wasn't good for [the Bucks] because they didn't want to bring Richard Jefferson back. But then he told me when he traded me to Golden State [in the Andrew Bogut deal] that there was a good chance that I'm going to get where I wanted to go.
He didn't say San Antonio specifically, but that's what happened. I made my connection flight from Milwaukee to Minnesota and I was sitting in the airport waiting to connect to go to San Francisco and I got a call from Pop [Spurs coach Gregg Popovich].
I was almost in tears.
Q: So why did you leave San Antonio after the championship in 2003?
A: I felt that I deserved more for the way I played in the Finals, money-wise, but I knew it was a situation where Tony and Manu were going to be here. So I knew there was a possibility that we'd have to part ways. I was just looking for the best move for my career at the time.
I wish I would have stayed because I would have more championships, but who knows how that would have turned out? I had to find myself as a player and make a name for myself and I think that was the best move at the time.
I think I've grown [since 2003]. I've grown as a player. I've learned how to deal with a lot and I've been through a lot. What they were trying to teach me when I was young, I think I learned on my own. And it's good to come back here knowing I've grown.
Q: Nine years later ... is Pop mellower? As intense as ever? How would you describe him?
A: He's the same to me. He's the same. He loves his guys, he supports his guys, but at the same time he wants you to do your job, which is give 110 percent.
I think everybody's the same. Tim's the same, Manu's the same, Tony's the same. Everybody's the same. The organization is still one of the best in the league. Family-oriented organization. The only thing that's changed is time.
Bonus sixth question ...
Q: You know people are going to wonder how much you have left. And you know I'm going to ask: Can you still make love to pressure?
A: Make love to pressure! I'm waitin' on the pressure. You know I'm waitin' on it. You already know.