Jackson: A Blend of Garnett, Iverson, Nash and Jordan?
Currently in her fourth WNBA season, Fever forward Deanna Jackson exhibits a personality as versatile as her game on the court. Known for her ability to crash the boards and slash to the basket, Jackson displayed a humorous sarcasm while attacking a series of questions posed by Fever media intern and website contributor Joe Gombach.
Jackson talks about her WNBA career which began as a member of the Cleveland Rockers, playing overseas in China and Korea, and of course spending time with her current Fever teammates!
Fever Website: You played two seasons overseas, one in China and another in Korea, which country did you like best?
Deanna Jackson: “I liked China better because I thought [my teammates] were more team-oriented. They treated me like a star, and we just bonded so well. We’re good friends. I still talk to them on the telephone and we email. I didn’t have that close friendship with [my teammates in Korea], in part because Korea has a shorter season.”
FW: What about the different cultures? What did you like or dislike about that aspect of playing overseas?
DJ: “The only thing I didn’t like about China was that I don’t eat Chinese food! I was over there losing about 20 pounds! That was the only thing I didn’t like about China, culturally. In Korea, it’s just like being in America. They had all different American foods!”
FW: You had a good career at the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB), including being named to Conference USA’s All-Decade team. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement in college? DJ: “I guess going to the Sweet 16 at Oregon and playing in The Pit. We usually played in front of 1,000 people, and going to Oregon, we were playing in front of almost 12,000 people. It was just so packed. I was like, ‘wow.’”
FW: Why did you decide to play at UAB instead of a bigger program? Do you think going to a bigger program would have changed your career?
DJ: “UAB is in a smaller conference compared to the SEC or ACC. If I had gone to Tennessee, there would have been more exposure, but I wanted to go to UAB to start something. I wanted to be a part of something and make a difference at UAB because they never went to the NCAA Tournament. I felt like I accomplished something as a person. At Tennessee, it seems like they go to the NCAAs every week or every day! I wanted to be able to make a difference.”
FW: Your older sister also played at UAB. Did that affect your decision? What was it like to play with her in college? DJ: “Yeah, my mom was like, ‘Well, your sister’s there,’ and she kind of persuaded me to go to UAB with my sister. [My sister] was always trying to control everything like I was the little sister, and so I had to abide by her rules. It was kind of hard, but we’re real close, and after a while it was okay.”
FW: You’re from Alabama, so what was it like going to Cleveland to play for the Rockers and being away from home?
DJ: “It was okay, because I’m not really a homebody. I like to travel. I love Cleveland as a city. It wasn’t a big deal for me because I love to travel. Alabama is so small, so I enjoy to try to get away from it sometimes.”
FW: In Cleveland you were more of a perimeter shooter, but now you’re more of a slasher. To what do you attribute the change? Is it something you worked on or just something that happened?
DJ: “I think it was just something that happened because in Cleveland, I was just standing around shooting, and then my coach told me, ‘You need to drive more.’ Now I’m just a straight-up slasher. I just trying to keep getting better and keep working hard.”
FW: What NBA player do you think your game is compared to?
DJ: “I don’t really know what NBA player I’m compared to. I’m just original! I’m unique. There’s nobody quite like me. I got a mixture of a little KG, a little AI, some Steve Nash. [Laughing] All of those guys. Oh, and a little Michael Jordan on the side!”
FW: Your role has changed a lot this year. You’re not starting, but you are playing a lot of minutes off the bench. How do you feel about your new role on the team?
DJ: “I just accept my role on the team because we have so many players that are good, so I just wait because I know the opportunities going to come to me. It’s a different role. Everybody would like to start, but it’s not always who starts, it’s who finishes! We’ve been playing well as a team. We’ve been winning, so the change is okay.”
FW: What has been the high point and low point in your career in Indiana?
DJ: “The high point has been when you score like 10 points a game or 12 coming off the bench – because 10 points off the bench is good! Then you have those days when you don’t really play, and those are the lows. That’s when you need teammates like we have. My teammates are so encouraging. You can get through almost anything because they make it so much easier.”
FW: What do you like to do for fun around Indianapolis?
DJ: “I’ve been everywhere in the city because I love to go out and hang out. We go and shoot pool downtown. We go bowling. We try to do everything.”
FW: Who do hang out with?
DJ: “Last year, Ebony [Hoffman] and I were like Bonnie and Clyde. I’ve also been hanging out with Coretta [Brown] a lot. It’s always me, Coretta, and Ebony most of the time. But when Coretta can’t make it, I hang out with Yo [Yolanda Paige]. She’s like my new partner in crime. [Laughing]”