Stephen Jackson took to Instagram to state his case for former teammate Metta Sandiford-Artest as the greatest two-way player in NBA history.
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Jackson got to see Ron Artest (as he was known then) up-close as teammates with the Indiana Pacers for a very brief time. They played together at the start of the 2004-05 NBA season and beginning of the next campaign before Sandiford-Artest was traded to the Sacramento Kings in January 2006.
Sandiford-Artest was suspended for almost all of the 2004-05 season after the infamous “Malice at the Palace” brawl that occurred in a November game against the Detroit Pistons. He then played 16 games with the Pacers the following season before being traded away.
Later known as Metta World Peace, Sandiford-Artest played 17 seasons in the NBA, ending his career after the 2016-17 season with the Los Angeles Lakers.
He was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year for the 2003-04 season and chosen to the 2004 NBA All-Star Game, his only such appearance. That season ended with a loss to the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals. Sandiford-Artest did help the Lakers win the 2010 NBA championship in his only appearance in the NBA Finals.
Sandiford-Artest made four All-Defensive teams and is 24th in NBA history in steals, but his accomplishments do not seem to compare to those of the greatest two-way players in NBA history.
For example, Michael Jordan, who is mentioned by Jackson in his social media post, was All-Defensive First Team nine times, led the league in scoring 10 times and has the highest per-game scoring average in history.
In addition, the NBA Defensive Player of the Year trophy now is actually named after Hakeem Olajuwon, who made nine All-Defensive teams during his career and is 12th in NBA history in points.
Sandiford-Artest may have had a reputation as a fierce and intimidating competitor in his time, and it’s commendable of a former teammate like Jackson to send some praise his way, but to put him among the best two-way players in NBA history is quite a bit of a stretch.