By Ben Golliver
For years, NBA diehards have complained that the close proximity of courtside photographers to the on-court action could lead to a player being injured. Thursday night proved that courtside waitresses can be just as hazardous.
Spurs forward Stephen Jackson left Thursday's game against the Knicks with a right ankle sprain after falling on a Madison Square Garden courtside waitress who was kneeling on the sideline while attending to customers. Spurs broadcasters reported that the customer being served was New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
With 3:23 left in the first quarter and the Spurs leading 17-14, Jackson attempted a three-pointer from the left corner. The attempt missed, and Jackson backpedaled slowly. Replays showed his right ankle catching on the waitress, causing him to fall onto the woman and then into the first row of seats. The Knicks took advantage of a five-on-four opportunity with Jackson staying down on the ground, getting a wide open Carmelo Anthony three-pointer before the Spurs were forced to call timeout. Jackson walked gingerly to the sideline with the help of teammates and headed immediately for the locker room.
The Spurs announced during the second quarter that Jackson would not return to the game. He left with zero points and zero rebounds in three minutes.
Jackson's injury recalled a famous Curb Your Enthusiasm sketch in which comedian Larry David, seated courtside, stretches out his legs and trips Shaquille O'Neal as he heads to the scorer's table to check into the game, leading to O'Neal's departure for the locker room with an injury.