Did an act of kindness by Reggie Jackson contribute to him getting shipped out of town by the Oklahoma City Thunder?
It’s a question raised in passing in a Grantland article attempting to explain the deteriorating relationship between the team and the media in OKC. As chronicled by Bryan Curtis, Thunder players Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and others have become dismissive and even openly hostile to reporters, and nobody seems to be sure why.
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Apparently, even something as seemingly harmless as offering a member of the media a chair could put a player on the wrong side in the locker room.
“One night, a game ran late,” Curtis writes. “Darnell Mayberry, the Oklahoman’s senior Thunder reporter, was up against deadline. He brought his laptop into the locker room to move quotes directly from the players’ lips to his copy. Mayberry sat in a chair in front of an empty locker. Westbrook saw him and told him the chairs were for players only.
“Mayberry got up. But then a funny thing happened. Backup point guard Reggie Jackson took his chair, wheeled it across the locker room, and offered it to Mayberry. Remember that when you wonder why Jackson now plays for the Pistons.”
The story of record for why Jackson was traded is that – as a free-agent-to-be – he didn’t fit into OKC’s future at the price he fancied for himself. But culture can be just as important as finances, and it’s fair to wonder whether a different attitude toward the media was a factor in Jackson’s well-known schism with his former Thunder teammates.