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Gregg Popovich yanks off Stephen Jackson’s headband

Detroit Pistons v San Antonio Spurs

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 3: Head Coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs speaks with Stephen Jackson #3 during a game against the Detroit Pistons on March 3, 2013 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2012 NBAE (Photos by D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images)

D. Clarke Evans

The Spurs released Stephen Jackson just before last season’s playoffs, reportedly, because Jackson had been feuding with Gregg Popovich.

Jackson could have been bitter, but he wasn’t. Even as San Antonio made the NBA Finals, he said, “I wouldn’t want me on the team, either.”

If nothing else, Jackson tells it like it is. If he resented Popovich and the Spurs, he would have said so.

There’s still good feelings between Jackson and Popovich, and that was on fully display after the Clippers beat the Spurs on Monday.

I think.

Popovich is joking around here, right? Right? He doesn’t typically act this way publically, so I’m a bit confused.

He flicks the headband at Jackson, who goes to hug Tim Duncan rather than embrace Popovich. That doesn’t scream warm. I can’t imagine Popovich snatching Jackson’s headband to be a jerk, though.

So, this has to be cordial. Right?

I’ll go with yes, but only because Popovich’s pregame thoughts on Jackson back that up.

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Popovich, via Dan McCarney of Spurs Nation:

“This will sound crazy because I booted him before the playoffs,” Popovich said, “but I love the guy. He lives in my neighborhood. He’s a great guy. He’s one of those guys who’s got a great sense of humor. He’s got a great heart.“He’s got a few idiosyncrasies I might not buy now and then, but he’s a great kid, and he gives an edge to your basketball team. He’s getting older, and all players when they get older have to face certain situations and change roles. He’s got an opportunity to do that here with Doc (Rivers), and, hopefully, he will. I wish him nothing but great success.”

I think Popovich shares the same mindset as me. The NBA is a more intriguing place when Jackson is in the league, but he’s easier to appreciate when he’s not on your team.