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Clippings: Reggie Jackson keeps smiling through the ups and downs

Jackson is the team’s emotional pacemaker.

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NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a bit of a grind for the Clippers to start 2022. They’ve been without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George the whole way through and have been on the road for more than half of their contest, with five more road games still to go to end the month.

It can be hard to stay positive during the doldrums of the season, but one player who has no such problem keeping the mood up is Reggie Jackson. No matter how the Clippers are doing or how he’s playing, Jackson provides a shot of life to the team. When he’s smiling, or dancing, it uplifts everyone else.

Jackson can generally power himself up without outside encouragement. But when he needs a boost, the home crowds are more than happy to help. At Arena, Jackson is a fan favorite, the Clipper most likely to get chants of his name.

“We don’t say anything to Reggie. You don’t need to say anything to him, he got it by himself. He’s in his own world. Got his own vibes, so he’s gonna be OK,” Batum said last week. “The crowd’s gonna chant Reggie anyway, the crowd gonna be ‘Reg-gie! Reg-gie!’.... He’ll be 1-for-10 and make one layup and it’s gonna be ‘Reg-gie!’”

Phoenix Suns v LA Clippers
This is the face the Clippers turn to when times get tough.
Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Fortunately for the Clippers, Jackson has been able to take those vibes on the road. He’s averaging about 24 points and nine assists per contest over the last three games while turning the ball over eight times total, and he’s shooting 66.6 percent on twos, finally able to take the reins of what had been a floundering offense. Jackson is one of the few players who will assuredly be part of the rotation when the superstars return, so the Clippers need him to continue to elevate his performance.

It isn’t just his play, but his relentless positivity when the Clippers are down double digits or facing an offensive onslaught from one of the best centers in the league. Jackson keeps the Clippers focused on the next play, and getting better from there. He’s good at staying rooted in the moment.

Over the past few weeks, Jackson has gotten an assist from Xavier Moon in that department, with Moon serving as sort of his deputy vibes commander. The fact that Moon is experiencing the NBA lifestyle as a rookie helps Jackson appreciate all the little things that come with this job and this role.

“When you get guys who are getting to do it, live this life for the first time, you kind of get to see their eyes open and it makes your eyes open, like it reminds you take it in,” Jackson said. “It is very much a blessing. Definitely don’t grow numb to it. I’m always trying to enjoy those experiences and enjoy with the guys who come through this locker room who get to experience this lifestyle because it’s a small fraternity and it’s a blessing to be part of it.”

With that attitude, it’s no wonder that Jackson is at his finest when the chips are down. Even when the Clippers are slogging through an eight-game trip, unsure of what the rest of their season holds, Jackson is delighted to be on the journey, doing his best to make sure everyone feels the same way.

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