FOR new Meralco import Darnell Jackson, the opportunity to play alongside two basketball greats is something he will forever treasure.
Jackson played alongside NBA superstar LeBron James and legendary center Shaquille O’Neal during his two-season stay with the Cleveland Cavaliers, a stint where he said he learned a lot about the sport through the two Hall of Famers’ approach to the game.
Jackson played alongside `King James’ during his final two seasons with the Cavaliers, and a season with the 7-foot O’Neal when the 15-time All-Star joined James in Cleveland.
“(I learned about) work ethic (from James and O’Neal). You got to bring it everyday, no dayoffs and it doesn’t matter if you’re sore,” Jackson shared to Spin.ph shortly after the Bolts’ practice on Tuesday at the Meralco gym.
The 6-8 former Kansas forward said watching James push himself to the limit everyday in practice gives him the extra motivation to work even harder as he tries to earn a trip back to the NBA.
“That’s how he (James) steps up in the game, like being one of the greatest and he is one of the greatest, just being around him, watching him as a player and as a friend. I’ve never seen him take dayoffs, never seen him half-ass it,” said the 28-year-old Jackson, who has replaced Brian Butch.
“Everything he (James) did, it’s a billion percent. He went all-out, on the court and off the court. When you see a guy do that, and he has everything in the world he wants, and he still brings it to the game, day in and day out, you got to try to do that yourself,” he added.
Jackson knows the implication of Wednesday’s PBA Commissioner’s Cup game against Barangay Ginebra, a team that is fighting for survival as it parades former Lakers forward Josh Powell for its new import.
The 28-year-old Jackson said Powell is a familiar foe, having played against him five times in the 2013-14 Chinese Basketball Association season.
The Bolts and the Kings face off in the main game on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.