It’s no secret that Jarrett Jack emerged as a leader on the Toronto Raptors squad last season. Despite it being his first year with the Raptors and a tumultuous season all around after the All-Star break, Jack was a voice in the locker room when the team needed one. Leading by example, he is a consummate professional in the day-to-day routine of being an NBA player. From talking to the media to putting in extra work and getting in shots late at night, Jack is the kind of vet you want on your team.
While the starting point guard position is still up for grabs between Jack and Jose Calderon, whether Jack starts the game on the floor or from the bench, the youthful Raptors will need his leadership again this season. A close friend of Chris Bosh, Jack took some time to speak with reporters at media day to discuss Bosh, Toronto and being a regular guy.
- On whether he expects Bosh to be booed when he returns to Toronto as a member of the Miami Heat: “I don’t understand them having any type of disdain towards him because if he was to sign back they would have loved him. Just because he went to another team or went somewhere else where he thought he had a better chance of winning, what’s wrong with that? If you’re a regular guy and you had a better opportunity at another job, you would go take the job, right? That’s how people need to look at it. Look at it like every day life. This is his job, his career. I’m sure if he could have stayed here and won championships, won multiple championships, he would have done that.”
- When told that perhaps some fans felt Bosh didn’t really love the city like he said he did during his seven years as a Raptor: “For somebody to be somewhere seven years, and do what he did for this city, this organization, I don’t think anybody could say that. If they were in his situation, leave a job, get a raise, and have an opportunity to ultimately obtain your goal? You show me one person that wouldn’t leave either.”
- On whether he feels that sometimes stars playing in Canada don’t get the proper love and attention that stars in the U.S. do: “I don’t necessarily know you can say that because when Vince Carter was on top of his game, he was the hottest guy in the league right behind Kobe and Shaq. You come up here, play well and the team plays well, you’ll get your notoriety, you’ll get your just due. Did some people look over him in some aspects when you talk about the best players in the league? It happens. But it happens to guys who play in the States as well. People do it to Brandon Roy all the time. Another guy I played with who is an exceptional talent, but when they go through the best players, they leave him off the list. Maybe being in Oregon is too far.”
- On whether he ever feels out of the loop: “No, no. With the love and support that you get here from these fans that are incredible, that’s enough for me. As long as the people that see me play every day and take pride in coming to watch us take the court, as long as they love and support us, that’s all that matters.”
- On criticism from within the organization that Bosh quit last season: “That’s an unfortunate thing to ever have to say about anybody you’ve worked with, played with, anything. I feel like, if you felt like that, why didn’t you say it or tell him when it was going on. I’m not trying to bash anybody, or say anything bad about anybody, but if I see you doing something that I don’t necessarily think is best and I don’t say it then, I’m going to approach you while it’s still going on while it’s fresh and we can have a healthy discussion about it. You can tell me no you’re not, we can debate about it or whatever, but as long as we get it out of the way, it’s not something we have to sit on and then say you never said it. Saying it now, it doesn’t matter. It’s the Miami Heat now.”
- On whether he ever got the sense that Bosh was quitting: “I’ve seen him play through a lot of things. Injuries, personal problems that people don’t know about behind the scenes. One time, late at night, he cut his hand. He was holding a glass and the glass cut his whole hand up. Guy had like five stitches in his hand. Nobody knew. He could have easily sat out that game. People have sat out for less around here, didn’t have to deal with the things that he dealt with. People can say that, but I don’t think that’s fair at all. It’s just unfortunate, you know what I mean? That people would even suggest that he did that. Me knowing him on a personal level as well as a professional level. I know what type of kid he is and that never came into his mind.”
- On if he’d be disappointed if Bosh doesn’t get a cheer when he returns: “I would. Being mad at a guy for switching teams, people switch teams every day. People look at it as if he’s not a regular guy, like this isn’t his profession…Just being honest, we’re regular people at the end of the day. It’s not a very regular job, but if they told you tomorrow you could be the head editor of The Washington Post, or The New York times, you’re telling me you won’t go? And you get a significant pay raise (laughs), I don’t know what your ultimate goal is, but head editor sounds important. You’re like top of the list at the New York Times or whatever, you would definitely take it into consideration. It’s the same thing, it’s just that 20 thousand people don’t get to go to your job every day. And they don’t know you make millions of dollars and it’s cool because people actually loved him. There was nothing fake about it. I used to tell him he was like Michael Jackson out here. He was larger than life in a sense. When people love you and they hate to see you go, emotions get involved, but that’s just life.”
- On if he’s noticed that fans in Toronto boo: “They boo who they feel needs to get booed. They don’t boo everyone. When Matt Bonner comes back, it’s like the president. Morris Peterson as well. They cheer him as well. Only person I know they boo is Vince. I can’t really pinpoint another person they boo. It was mixed feelings with Tracy McGrady, I don’t know why, but they were mixed with him… I think it would be unfortunate if they booed Chris, but if that helped us get the win… (laughs) Oh, well.”
- If it ever feels strange when people forget that professional athletes are regular people who are making the decisions that seem best for them and their careers: “We are fortunate in the sense that we play a game and get paid for it. I joke with dudes all the time, we play a kid’s game and get a king’s ransom. How many people can say that the same thing they were doing when they were seven or eight years old, they do it for their profession now and they get paid relatively well? I think people forget sometimes what actually goes in to what we do. It’s a job. Nothing more, nothing less.”
- Do people sometimes forget that athletes still can have problems, too? “Yeah, but, in respect to that, when you do make millions of dollars you’ve got to be able to put those problems to the side, even though it might not be easy. You’ve got to do the best you can to put those problems on the back burner while you’re at work and deal with it. If you’ve got a problem that’s too serious you can sit out a game or whatever it is, but you’ve still got to do your thing. If you take the court there’s no excuses, you’ve just got to go out there and perform.”
- If you were wondering: “I was a Penny Hardaway guy.”
- And after a long scrum mainly about Bosh, I’ll leave you with a positive quote from Jack: “I’ll tell it like this: I’ll be here as long as they’ll have me. I like it here. The people here respect the sport and respect the players in the same breath and that isn’t easy to come by.