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May 12, 2003: Bobby Jackson Graces The Cover Of Sports Illustrated

(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

17 years ago today, Sacramento’s sixth man was tapped for the cover of S.I.

For six seasons, the Sacramento Kings had something that several teams did not have.

Most teams rely on strong starting units, having to survive drop-offs in production once their bench players check into the game. The “sixth man”, is what the league refers to as the best player on the bench. A lot of NBA teams didn’t have the luxury of a sixth man, a player that could start on most teams.

The Sacramento Kings had Bobby Jackson.

May 12, 2003 cover of Sports Illustrated

On this date in 2003, Jackson was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine. The 30 year-old backup point guard had just put the finishing touches on the best season of his career, helping lead Sacramento to a 59-23 record and Pacific Division Championship.

Jackson finished the season averaging 15.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 38-percent from beyond the three-point line.

For his efforts, Jackson was awarded the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award, becoming the first–and only–Sacramento King to ever win the award.

From 2000 through 2005, Jackson played in 294 games for the Kings. During that time, the talented guard scored 11.4 points per game, grabbed 3.3 rebounds per game and dished 2.3 assists per game. Jackson was effective on the defensive end as well, averaging 1.0 steals and swiping 294 during that time span.

After leaving Sacramento following the 2004-05 season, Jackson returned in 2008 to play his final NBA season with the Kings.

Jackson accepted a front office role with Sacramento after retiring in 2009, becoming an assistant coach until 2013 on Keith Smart’s staff. In 2018, Jackson joined former teammates Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic in the front office.

Divac, the General Manager and Stojakovic, the VP of Basketball and Team Development appointed Jackson to become the new Player Development coach prior to the 2018-19 season.