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Letters with Jackson's forged signature announcing that he was not set on LSU appeared at other schools, including Georgetown and UNLV. Someone claiming to be Jackson also called North Carolina to discuss his recruitment. Rumors spread in the press about Mrs. Jackson's wanting to "sell" her son to the highest bidder. After Jacqueline refused to sign Jackson's national letter of intent—she was pushing him to attend Alcorn State—she had an angry meeting with Brown at which they basically agreed to disagree. It wasn't until August, when CJ arrived on campus, that Brown realized he had won the fight.
"It got so bad last summer I had to leave home," says Jackson. "I came up to LSU and it hurt, but I had to prove to her this was the right place for me." Not long afterward Jackson was listening to a tape by the group 4 By Four when he heard a sad ballad entitled Mommy-Daddy. He broke down and cried. "Right then I wrote her a long letter," says Jackson. "I never sent it, but I went back to Gulfport to tell her how much she meant to me."
On the bus ride to New Orleans for the Georgetown game, Jackson listened to Mommy-Daddy. "I get chills every time," he says. Jacqueline now attends all of LSU's home games. "I think she understands," he says.
What Jackson must still cope with is the perplexing disorder afflicting his nervous system. Some of the symptoms of Tourette syndrome first appeared when he was in grade school, but he wasn't put on medication until the fall of 1987, when Jenkins and his wife became involved. "I try to look on it as just another habit," says Jackson. "I try not to think about it, but it's hard." It's so hard that in interviews Jackson will expend a great deal of effort trying to keep from suddenly crying out or from suddenly flailing his arm that he will literally become deaf to the questioning.
Blanton, whose locker is next to Jackson's, says that he has often been slapped by CJ's hand. And Jackson's knuckles have taken a beating from the involuntarily pounding of his hand into his dormitory wall. "When I first came here, I knew guys were looking at me like, wow, this boy is crazy," says Jackson. "But, hey, this is just me."
LSU notified the SEC's supervisor of officials about Jackson's condition after the Tigers lost to Mississippi State on Jan. 4. During the game a referee mistook one of CJ's involuntary screams—"dom, dom" is the approximate sound—as a complaint about a call. "Chris drove the ball inside 12 times after that and never got one foul shot," says Carse.
Tourette syndrome can also affect how he plays. Depending on the intensity of the game, CJ's face and eyes will twitch and blink with such ferocity it's a wonder he can concentrate on the basket. "I can put on some awesome head fakes, though," he says with a laugh.
No cure is available, but Tourette syndrome can be controlled effectively with the drug Haldol, which Jackson takes every night. "I want to face this in a positive way and help others who have it," says Jackson. "To convince them not to worry about the looks and the jokes and just deal with it the way I have to."
What LSU and Jackson don't need are reporters like the one at Tennessee who had seen Jackson blinking and demanded to know why his shot wasn't falling. "Was it the lights?" the fellow asked. "You don't like the lights? What's wrong with the lights?"
"Nothing's wrong with the lights," said Jackson, and he walked away.