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Original Issue

How To: Lose $7 Million STEPHEN JACKSON let his ego be his agent--and paid a very high price for it

It appeared that Stephen Jackson couldn't have been happier last
season as the starting shooting guard for the Spurs. After a
four-year search for a steady NBA gig--including stops in
Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and the CBA--Jackson landed
with a class organization located only five hours west of his
hometown of Port Arthur, Texas. Shortly after he hit three key
fourth-quarter three-pointers in a decisive Game 6 of the Finals,
he received a three-year, $9 million free-agent contract offer
from San Antonio. He might have even been able to squeeze another
million or so out of the team with a counteroffer.

So what did Jackson and his agent, Dan Fegan, do? They decided
that the offer to Jackson, who committed an astounding 26
turnovers in the Finals, was an insult. They did not return phone
calls or answer e-mails from general manager R.C. Buford and
coach Gregg Popovich. They chose to sit and wait for better deals
from other teams, then watched uncomfortably as other free-agent
swingmen got the offers. They squirmed when the Spurs traded for
two players at Jackson's position, Ron Mercer and Hedo Turkoglu.
Then they signed a two-year, $2.2 million contract with the lowly

In spurning San Antonio, Jackson forgot all the hard lessons he'd
learned while in the basketball wilderness. He isn't the first
player to vastly overestimate his value, but that will be little
consolation when he checks his bank account--and the
standings. --J.M.