Posted January 06, 2013

Spurs’ Popovich says Jackson’s waitress-caused injury was ‘maddening’

Ben Golliver, Gregg Popovich, Madison Square Garden, Mike Bloomberg, New York Knicks, San Antonio Spurs, Stephen Jackson

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By Ben Golliver

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is looking to the league office for a little help when it comes to keeping his guys out of harm’s way on the sidelines.

During the first quarter of a Thursday game against the Knicks, Spurs forward Stephen Jackson suffered a sprained right ankle when he backpedaled after shooting a jump shot onto a waitress who was kneeling while serving New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who was seated courtside at Madison Square Garden. The injury immediately forced Jackson from action and he did not return. He also did not play against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.

The San Antonio Express-News reports that Popovich referred to the incident as a “Mayoral mishap”, calling it “maddening” while making it clear a player should never find himself injured in such circumstances.

“It’s an accident waiting to happen.”

Popovich expressed confidence the incident would spur the league to better control the sidelines during games.

“After what happened, I have no doubt the league has contacted teams to make sure everybody shores up their discipline in that area,” he said. “It’s obvious people shouldn’t be ordering beers or Cokes or hot dogs when the game is going on.”

As noted here at The Point Forward on Thursday, there’s just no excuse for this. Hopefully Popovich is correct and the league office has indeed taken steps to explain the appropriate protocol for courtside serving.

Adhering to a “no serving during live action” rule shouldn’t be that difficult to stick by, given how much non-live time is built into an NBA game by way of timeouts, television timeouts, quarter breaks, halftime and all the other possible stoppages in play (video reviews, etc.). In bigger markets, the number of celebrities and their demands surely increase. So do the prices, though, which should be sufficient to maintain an appropriate waiter-to-customer ratio that doesn’t require cutting corners or taking unnecessary risks.

Given the stakes, it’s reasonable to suggest that home teams should be subject to fines if their employees influence live action in this manner, regardless of whether the players impacted are their own players or the opposition. This situation isn’t any less serious if it’s J.R. Smith being carted off with an ankle injury rather than Jackson. The issue here is player safety and not competitive advantage.

Not to mention, this is just bad business. The Spurs are paying Jackson $10.1 million this season, which equates to roughly $122,000 per game. In other words, the Spurs are on the hook for roughly $214,000 to Jackson for the time (seven-plus quarters) that he wasn’t able to play during the Knicks and 76ers games. That’s no laughing matter, even if the original incident was ripped from the pages of a television sit com. The NBA can and must do better.

6 comments
BrianScottBailey
BrianScottBailey

So what about all the other times basketball players make a shot and fall into the stands and crowd in the front and not getting injured! This is the waitress's fault for doing her job? Greg should know part of the food proceeds pays for his and his players' salaries. Sorry worked that job 16 years ago, it has not changed since. It has been going on for a long long time and nothing like this happened before. During play is when most people order and want their food and drink! We were always running orders up and down and they still do it.

 

Sorry Pop great coach but his logic is flawed.

amoeba2315
amoeba2315

 @BrianScottBailey When on the court you expect no obstacles! Ofcourse when you jump into stands and into fans its a different story cause the players are leaving the court, but on the court again there should only be officials and team members.

SWIFTSLICK
SWIFTSLICK

LOL. He falls on an waitress and no one asks if she's alright. She's just doing her job. Jackson is an athlete he should be able to make an 3 pointer without stumbling out of bounds like an world class klutz. 

bryandepalma10
bryandepalma10

You get used to the insane amount of the salaries of these players that you no longer pay any attention to it... until you compute it as per game, per quarter (okay these players are not exactly paid on a per game basis lol..)...

 

10 million per year is basically 1 million per month! 1 million per month can you imagine that! and you always read in the papers of former players getting bankrupt, losing their homes within a few years out of retirement. Crazy!

amoeba2315
amoeba2315

 @bryandepalma10 dont you mean homes and several cars they are loosing? Its cause they feel they are center of the world and they dont see an end in sight to when the paychecks will stop. They dont plan for the future.