It was media day at the Palace, and Reggie Jackson was next.
He breezed through what once was the media dining room and took his place at the podium.
After he took a seat, he fidgeted with an object hanging at the end of the necklace he was wearing.
"It looks cold, right?"
A Detroit Pistons spokesman gave him instructions. Jackson leaned in.
"Can you hear me back there? Gotcha."
A reporter asked what was he wearing.
"Giving a tribute to Flavor Flav, so I got my own clock."
Then a Pistons employee solved the mystery.
"It's a camera," the employee said. "Shooting a first-person view."
"It's a camera," Jackson told the media. "So you may be snitching on me, while I'm snitching on y'all, too."
Laughter spread throughout the room.
"Just so y'all know."
The short scene shows that Jackson – at least mentally – is back to 2015-16 form when the point guard was the most important offensive player on a playoff team.
It's a far cry from last season, when the young Pistons cratered. Jackson's mood sullied his performance while he struggled with left knee tendinitis.
But he surveyed the landscape this off-season and noticed that at 27, he is one of the oldest players on the team. With critics saying his success was a one-year fluke to add to the physical issue, he began to wonder about his basketball mortality.
And with that, Jackson decided to stop worrying about the past, and it could be a major factor for the Pistons' season, which begins Oct. 18 against the Charlotte Hornets at Little Caesars Arena.
"I know it was a down year," Jackson said. "I still have thoughts about it every now and then, but more so when I wake up each and every day, I feel like I'm forgetting about it slowly. I'm using it as motivation, but it is what it is and it's in the past.
"When times got tough last year, I found myself going into my shell a little bit and talking to myself a lot. This year I kind of realized in conversations with my brother and having an epiphany is I am somewhat of an elder statesman on this team now.
"(With) the role of point guard you kind of (need to) be vocal and guys have to understand your vision is as well."
It was a few days before Christmas, and the Pistons were at Chicago.
The Pistons carried a two-game losing streak and were 3-5 since Jackson returned from missing the first 21 games of the season after a platelet-rich plasma injection early in October.
The team had good chemistry while managing Jackson's absence, but things soured upon his return. The crisp ball movement went away, and Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy went right back to an attack reliant on Jackson pick-and-rolls with center Andre Drummond.
Things reached a head with a team meeting that focused on Jackson before the game against the Bulls. A curious thing happened that night at the United Center: Jackson stopped shooting.
Midway through the first quarter of the eventual embarrassing 31-point loss, writers noticed. Jackson would bring the ball up the floor, pass it to the wing, and then carry out spacing and screening responsibilities.
Most sets he would wind up in the weak-side corner with hands on hips.
The ball never was reversed to his side, kind of proving he wasn't the only issue with ball movement. He finally attempted a shot late in the second quarter.
Jackson said it was Van Gundy's play calls; Van Gundy said it was Jackson.
But the night served as an example of how Jackson once responded to criticism.
The struggles continued through January, but the team started playing better and moved to 33-33 and controlled its playoff fate with 16 games remaining.
But the team crashed, losing 12 of 16. Jackson's play remained inconsistent and he was shut down for the season with nine games remaining.
Reporters asked about his health all season, but Jackson, Van Gundy and teammates indicated he was fine.
Assistant coach Tim Hardaway told the Free Press recently that Jackson was hurt all season.
"He's the catalyst," Hardaway said. "He wants to come out here and be the man. He can be the man, but first he has to be healthy. Once he's 100 percent and (in) shape, everybody's going to see a different Reggie because last year he was hurt all the time."
Despite his diminished state, Jackson has to bear responsibility for last season.
Van Gundy is sharing it.
As soon as Jackson was cleared to play, he took part in two practices and was back on the floor.
"There's more than just the injury healing when guys are coming back," Van Gundy said at media day. "There's a lot more to it. The injury's got to heal and we talked about getting in shape, but the player has to gain confidence that they're back to where they are. They've got to get in a playing rhythm, there's all of these things.
He's trying to find his way out there with a team – that at the time – was playing real well. We really put him into an unfair situation."
At the time of the procedure, it was announced that Jackson would need 6 to 8 weeks to recover. He returned in seven.
Dr. Brian Halpern is the head of the Primary Care Sports Medicine Service at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, one of the nation's leading institutions in orthopedic surgery. He told the Free Press late last season that an initial drop-off should have been expected for Jackson after the platelet-rich plasma injections.
"Our data demonstrates that about 85 percent of the patients – from 80-to-85 percent – get back to full participation and are doing fine," Halpern said. "So that leaves 15 or 20 ( percent) that don't get back to the level they were at. Those are great odds.
" ... (But) it absolutely takes time. The earliest I will let someone get back to beginning their skill sport – and that's just beginning it, not back to full participation, is six weeks. It's not this concept that we inject you and you're instantly better and you can go back."
This summer, Jackson was placed under a 16-week protocol designed to lessen wear on the knee. No basketball activity aside from light shooting and jumping off the right leg.
The protocol ended right before the start of camp last month, and Jackson is working furiously to be ready for the season opener Oct. 18 against the Charlotte Hornets.
Jackson didn't play in the Pistons' preseason opener on Wednesday, and Van Gundy is adamant we won't see Jackson in a regular-season game until he is ready.
"We didn't do that last year," Van Gundy said. "That's on me. We just went as soon as he was physically ready and put him out there. There's a lot more to it. I think I learned a lot from it and we'll handle it differently now."
One area of drop-off was Jackson's ability to finish close to the rim. In 2015-16, he shot 53.1 percent within 5 feet of the basket. Last season, he fell to 48.4 percent.
He got to the free-throw line less, as he became mostly a jump shooter, which is not playing to his strengths.
Although the team is watching his minutes, Jackson appears to be back to putting constant pressure on the rim.
And his mood is brighter. Teammates have noticed.
"The best evaluator is yourself at times and I think he evaluates himself well," Tobias Harris said. "As players, you really don't want to put the pressure on him, but you just want to be there for him and be more confident in him for this upcoming year. He's in really good spirits and his attitude and body language is a whole lot better and when you see things like that, it's a step into confidence for him and being healthy and being able to get out there to play. That's just going to continue to grow as the year goes on."
Jackson mentions his older brother, Travis, several times when talking about his new outlook.
Travis, who is 8 years older, serves as a mentor and trusted advisor. Jackson said his brother is "proud" of his evolution. He realizes he can't do it by himself.
"I think they truly see that I want them to experience a lot of what I was able to experience before I came here and at the end of the day we want to be winners," said Jackson, a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder team that reached the 2012 NBA Finals. "We want to be remembered and I just want all of us to feel that together and I think the more that I talk to them, the more they hear me, it's not that I just want to win and success for myself. I want all of us to experience the same feeling and be known as and go down as winners together."