“Being the youngest, they weren't easy on me,” Reggie said. “It just helped me be tough-minded, move on, play through physicality and not really worry what's going on.”
When Reggie was 10, though, his brothers were off to college and his parents split. He lived with his mother for a year in Florida before moving in with his father in Colorado Springs. It was his sixth stop in 11 years, but it would be his final one until college.
Living alone with his father, who still worked diligently in the military and was back on the dating scene, Reggie said he didn't want to feel like a burden.
“I didn't want to bother anybody,” he said. “Don't know why I had thoughts like that as a kid. But that's just how I figured.”
So to pass the time, he put all his effort and energy into academics and athletics.
Reggie was naturally gifted, thanks to his father. Saul Jackson, Reggie claims, can still dunk at the age of 52: “He always says now, it's not the getting up there, it's the landing.”
“He was supposed to be an Olympic sprinter, but he had my brother,” Reggie said. “He's a freak athlete … I raced him when I was 17 and he beat me by about 20 yards.”
So the ability was there. But it was the work ethic that separated Reggie. In those Colorado Springs days, he would wake up at 5 a.m., hit a workout in the gym, get hundreds of shots up and then be off to school and practice.
He even did it during football season while serving as the starting quarterback at Palmer High School.
“He could throw it 60 yards on a rope,” Travis said, noting that before Reggie quit to focus on basketball his senior year, he was getting interest from Kansas, among others.
“Like I said, I never wanted to be a burden,” Reggie said. “I just wanted to take whatever God gave me and figure a way out.”
And the plan worked, with Reggie becoming the top high school hoopster in Colorado — averaging 29.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists his senior year — and earning a full ride to Boston College.
From there, he parlayed his talent into a first-round selection in the 2011 NBA Draft.
And now, in his third year, Jackson is thriving as the Thunder's sixth man.
Some of that, according to Jackson, is because of his globe-trotting youth, which he says “matured me” at an extremely fast rate.
“It gives you more versatility and an ability to adapt,” Travis said. “I think that's why he kind of plays well no matter what team he's on.”
In his 23 years, Reggie Jackson has had eight homes in eight completely different areas. And he wouldn't have it any other way.
But for the foreseeable future, Thunder fans hope he's found a concrete landing spot.