NEW YORK – From across the gym, Don Nelson heard his most beloved player's description of him and bellowed to Stephen Jackson, "Older white guy?" The Golden State Warriors' un-exiled star held his arms to his sides, palms up, as though stumped for a comeback. Jackson started laughing, his teammates roared too, and he finally barked back to Golden State's coach.
"Well, I didn't want to say old man."
Nelson doubled over in laughter, and here was the reason that Jackson is so indebted to him, why in a lot of ways he played the best basketball of his life for him a year ago.
"It's amazing that an older white guy understands me more than anybody I've been around in my whole life," Jackson said. "He sees through all the tattoos and all the stuff people say about me. He knows how I love the game."
Over the summer, Jackson was visiting friends in New York when Nelson called with a question that no coach had asked him since high school.
Did he want to be a captain?
For a moment, Jackson slipped
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