Two decades before the Curry phenomenon there was this skinny, lighting quick kid from Mississippi. It seemed as the electrifying guard has dynamite in his legs. Everything he threw up was going in!
His listed height of 6’1’’ didn’t speak in his favor. But the odds were against him all the way since growing up in a single-parent poor Mississippi family, which at times didn’t have anything to eat.
But this just amplified Chris Jackson’s hunger to succeed in life, for him there was no way back.
“I am like perfectionist, I don’t like doing anything wrong and I don’t like to make mistakes. I just work hard in what I am doing. I want to be the best in what I am doing.’ – Chris Jackson, HS senior 1988.
Jackson would enroll Gulfport HS in Gulfport, Mississippi. There, during the mid-1980s, he would become local basketball prodigy, being named Mississippi Mr.Basketball twice (in 1987 and 1988).
One of the primary examples of what basketball phenom could do with the rock in his hands, came in St Louis Catholic Invitational, one of the top tournaments in the South, held in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
The opponent was the State of Louisiana HS powerhouse – Washington Marion High School. And from the first minute of the game CJ went off taking the capacity crowd into absolute ecstasy!
The opponents tried to disrupt his rhythm by changing defenses. They tried to double-team him, set ‘box and 1’ or even set ‘diamond and two’ (two players guarding him and the others in a zone).
For him it just didn’t matter – he calmly continued to sink shot after shot in a memorable performance.
“I really don’t smile that much. After the game I most likely smile.” – Chris Jackson, HS senior 1988.
Jackson’s Gulfport HS won the game by 87-74 as he went just unconscious from beyond the three-point line – he hit 9-12 threes en route to the grand total of 55 points in a game.
As a high-school senior Jackson averaged 29.9 points and 5.7 dimes which made him the highest ranked point guard in the nation. Therefore, he earned a call to the 1988 McDonald’s All-American Game.
Later on, Jackson took his game on the next level and shined both in the NCAA (LSU) and NBA (Nuggets, Kings, Grizzlies), while in the process changing his name to Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.
Basketball Network contributor Murray A. a.k.a. Marjan Crnogaj is the 1980s and 1990s basketball specialist, proud author of the Amazon.com TOP 100 basketball biography ‘Drazen – The Years of the Dragon’.