Cleveland has The Drive, The Fumble and The Decision.
Oklahoma City now has The Promise.
OK, the latter might not belong in the same sporting annals. But around these parts the Thunder's mysterious pre-draft dealings with 24th overall pick Reggie Jackson stands as one of the most fascinating occurrences in the franchise's short history.
Already owning a reputation for his draft night wheeling and dealings and seemingly a yearly propensity to pluck a sleeper pick, Thunder general manager Sam Presti added another dimension to his unpredictable draft strategy when he allegedly promised Jackson he'd be a Thunder if he was still around at 24.
The day before the draft, Sports Illustrated reported that the Thunder had given Jackson a promise, citing speculation among numerous league executives. Other rumors had Jackson linked to Miami, which owned the 31st overall pick in the second round.
It was never clear whether the Heat promised Jackson and triggered the Thunder to snatch him up earlier, whether the Thunder promised Jackson and stuck to its guns or whether it was all hogwash.
The man himself says it was the latter.
“The speculation helped me, I guess, in getting drafted where I was,” Jackson said in a telephone interview.
“I understand this whole promise thing and (the way) everybody looks at it. But draft night is crazy. If everybody knew the draft (beforehand) I don't think people would show up to New York to watch it. I don't think people would tune in to watch it…I had no idea where I was going just like the next guy.”
The part where conspiracy theorists feast is when Jackson shut down all private workouts and interviews shortly after a workout in Oklahoma City. Jackson pulled the plug on his other stops because of a knee injury, leading many to think it was simply a smokescreen. But Jackson swears it was legitimate.
“After a workout for Oklahoma City, I came back and played pickup at my school,” Jackson said. “My knee, normally I could feel it tweaking, but it always got better. But it got worse. I went to the doctor and found out I couldn't go for about a month. I was supposed to come back. I tried to and I just couldn't compete, so I had to shut it down. That's about it. I was supposed to have workouts for other teams, but I honestly couldn't go. And that was that.”
Jackson had tendinitis in his knee, something he says he played with since his sophomore season at Boston College. He just always played through the pain.
“It's college,” Jackson said. “You don't have many games. You need to win, win, win, so I was always out there trying to compete. But I would always feel it.”
Rather than surgery, Jackson underwent a growingly popular procedure called Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy. During the procedure, which is commonly referred to as a PRP injection or shot, a patient's blood is drawn and spun before being injected back into the affected area. It's supposed to heal and strengthen tendons, bones, ligaments and cartilage.
“I had to do something about it immediately or try to play through it and never know if I could ever reach my full potential or not know what other type of problems it may cause,” Jackson said.
Jackson still is recovering from the procedure as he works out in Los Angeles. He says the muscles around his knee are getting back to full strength, and most of the pain has subsided. But Jackson added that he still is not as explosive as he once was and estimated that he's between 80 percent and 85 percent recovered.
He's now confident that his career can get off on the right foot.
“It's given me great hope, and I feel like I have great promise to maybe do great things one day,” Jackson said.