Atlanta Hawks guard Isaiah Rider did not make the trip to Washington for both teams' season opener last night because of a death in his family, Hawks officials said. Rider tried several times to reach General Manager Pete Babcock yesterday but they never actually spoke, a team spokesman said.
Jim Jackson, who was traded along with Rider to Atlanta from Portland during the offseason, started at shooting guard. Jackson was scheduled to start before Rider's family emergency, anyway, because of his performance and commitment during training camp and preseason.
"My whole goal was to come in and get back to the kind of basketball I can play one step at a time," said Jackson, who once averaged 25.7 points per game when he was with Dallas. "I thought I played pretty good in training camp. The minutes I played in preseason, I played pretty well.
"I'm getting more and more comfortable with the system, which is conducive to how I play. Being in the starting lineup something I want to do if it's at shooting guard or small forward."
Jackson, who is with his sixth team in four seasons, has played some small forward in the preseason when Atlanta used a three-guard lineup that featured Rider and point guard Bimbo Coles.
The San Antonio Spurs held a championship ring ceremony last night before their home season opener against the Philadelphia 76ers. One player who wasn't there to get his ring was Wizards forward Gerard King.
King, who along with forward Tracy Murray are the only Wizards with a championship ring, was a backup with the Spurs last season. Murray was a member of the champion 1994-95 Houston Rockets.
"I don't know when I'm going to get it," King said. "I don't know if they're going to wait until we play down there in September or what. I talked to a couple guys down there the other night and they were real excited.
"What I want to do once I get it, which is why I want to get it early, I want to put it on display for the guys and say this is what it's all about. It could be a motivational thing for us to play hard to get to the playoffs. It's hard to get one of those and I want these guys to realize the things we need to do to get one." . . .
Former Wizards forward Randell Jackson was claimed by the Dallas Mavericks. Washington released Jackson last Friday after his disappointing preseason.