Sam Smith Rumors

Being from New York and basketball were obvious common interests between the two men. But to Jackson, it was more than that which allowed them to remain connected over the years. “We have had similar experiences in our political life that we’ve shared with him working on the Hill,” Jackson said during a phone interview from his northwest Montana home of (Sam) Smith, who worked in Washington D.C. as a political reporter before joining the Tribune. “There is a dimension to Sam that is deep and interesting,” Jackson continued. “He’s always had a great manner in going about his work that I thought was considerate, yet not conciliatory. He dug for information, yet he always knew what was on and off—what territory was easy to cover and what was difficult for a person on the inside to disclose.”
Jackson believes Smith’s book played a role in Jordan backing off his so-called supporting cast, as well as allowing the coaches to more effectively restore a level of order and maintain control of the team. “That was probably a part of the dynamic,” said Jackson. “There were a lot of things that contributed to that. I think one of them was Michael playing in a system in which he had to form-fit himself into a group. He had to start trusting his teammates, which came from the appreciation of their individual skills and abilities. Finally, some of the shine came off the idolatry and the unbelievable press Michael got his first four or five years of his career where he could do everything from sew to cook. Spending time away from games and practices with the various players from the 1991 championship team, including Horace Grant, above, helped Smith share a revealing, behind the scenes look at the Bulls in The Jordan Rules. “I think it gave him more of a humanistic appreciation. It brought his star down to a level where he was a human being who was extraordinary in every sense of the word athletically and was driven by an incredible amount of competitive drive to win a championship. I think that was probably the defining message that came from that book.”
Whether it was on the practice floor or during games, the book told how Jordan made life difficult for the other players on the team and its coaches. When the book was released, a storm of controversy accompanied it with respect to the picture it painted of Jordan. “I knew it was going to be controversial and Sam had kind of warned me,” said Jackson of The Jordan Rules. “It was an inside look at the team and about the dynamics and the characteristics of our leader, Michael Jordan. Not everybody was going to be happy with it, I knew that. “A lot of it rang true; a lot of it, of course, was taken to the extreme perhaps,” Jackson continued. “But a lot of it was a really good portrayal of the team, how the team was going, and also the influence that this terrific player had on basketball.”
With the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame set to honor Smith with the 2012 Curt Gowdy Media Award, Jackson took a few moments to look back on his friend’s career. He calls the recognition that The Jordan Rules received “one of the defining moments” for Smith, adding that the number of years he served as president of the Professional Basketball Writers Association—four years in total—was also a remarkable accomplishment. “This is definitely an honor to be recognized by the Hall of Fame for his contributions to the game,” said Jackson. As for how Smith got there, Jackson believes it’s something other than the writing itself that sets him apart from his colleagues. “I think it’s the personality he brings to it,” said Jackson of Smith. “He has a deprecating way of approaching the players and I think they respect that. He’s not a guy that’s going to try to do a gotcha question or something that goes out of character. There’s a respect between professional journalism and a player that players recognize. I think his colleagues recognize that too. He has a good, deprecating sense of humor and I think all of these things contribute to what’s made him a popular journalist.”