Jackson back in wake of tragedy
LOS ANGELES — Returning to the game he loves and the team he considers family, Spurs swingman Stephen Jackson suited up Thursday for the first time since learning last week that his wife, Renata, had lost the child she had been carrying for 6 1/2 months.
Though Jackson said nothing can salve the pain of losing a child that would have been the first for the couple, who married in 2011, he believes playing basketball and being around teammates will be therapeutic.
“I’m as good as I can be,” Jackson said before Thursday’s Spurs-Clippers game at Staples Center. “I’m happy to be back with the team. I need to be back with the team, just for my own sanity. Basketball and being around these guys helps me a lot, so it’s definitely something I needed.”
Jackson learned of the loss while the Spurs were on the first phase of the rodeo road trip. He left the team after it arrived in Chicago for a game Feb. 11, missing games in Chicago, Cleveland and Sacramento. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told Jackson to take as much time away from the team as he needed.
“It was an unfortunate situation,” Jackson said. “Very frustrating and emotional and I’m nowhere close to being over it. “My wife is not doing too well, so I’m happy I had a coach like Pop who gave me the time to be with her. In order for me to help her I also have to help myself because this was a baby we were definitely looking forward to having. Being back with the team hopefully is going to help me be able to help my wife even more.”
Jackson said daily phone calls from Tim Duncan and support from other members of the Spurs’ family, including owner Peter Holt, general manager R.C. Buford and broadcaster Sean Elliott, have helped him cope.
“The family atmosphere of this organization is one of a kind,” he said. “Luckily, I’m on this Spurs’ team while I’m going through this situation because it’s definitely helpful being around these guys.” Read more: Spurs Nation