Michael Jordan Made Jerry Stackhouse Pay for an Arrogant Boast

There were two distinct phases to Jerry Stackhouse’s NBA career, and they can be broken into the pre- and post-MJ eras, as he was once a teammate of Michael Jordan.

Stackhouse wasn’t much of a shooter, but he was a scorer up to and including the 2002-03 season playing alongside Jordan for the Washington Wizards. Jordan retired after that season, and Stackhouse suddenly had a greatly reduced role for the remaining decade of his career with has a dozen teams.

Was there some sort of cause-and-effect deal related to Jordan? Not really, since a knee injury was the real culprit. But Stackhouse certainly learned something the very first time he took the court with Jordan, who made his pay for an arrogant boast.

Jerry Stackhouse had a long NBA career

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Jerry Stackhouse came out of high school in Kinston, North Carolina, as a coveted recruit who signed to play at the University of North Carolina under legendary coach Dean Smith. After averaging 15.7 points a game over two seasons (one as a starter), he declared for the 1995 NBA draft and landed with the Philadelphia 76ers as the No. 3 overall selection.

That began Stackhouse’s 18-year career in the NBA that included a pair of All-Star Game appearances as a member of the Detroit Pistons. The 6-foot-6 swingman was a consistent scorer from the start, averaging 19.5 points a game in two-plus seasons with the 76ers before his trade to Detroit.

A second trade brought him to the Washington Wizards in 2002. After one season there and eight in the league, Stackhouse was averaging 21.3 points and 4.1 assists a game, although he was barely a 40% shooter from the field.

A knee injury cut his season short the following year, and Stackhouse never regained top form. He remained a rotation player for a stretch and then filled out the roster for 126 games with five different teams in his final five seasons. Stackhouse retired in 2013.

Jerry Stackhouse regretted playing alongside Michael Jordan

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Jerry Stackhouse said he does not have fond memories of his one season as a Washington Wizards teammate of Michael Jordan. He had just averaged 21.4 points a game with the Detroit Pistons when they traded him in the deal that acquired Richard Hamilton.

Stackhouse had the distinction of being the only teammate to outscore Jordan over the course of a season as the superstar’s career wound down, but he believed that he was relegated to a supporting role in the offense scheme by midseason, hindering his career.

“Kind of the picture that I had in my mind of Michael Jordan and the reverence I had for him, I lost a little bit of it during the course of that year,” he told Adrian Wojnarowski in an ESPN podcast.

Michael Jordan taught the rookie a lesson

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In retrospect, the relationship between Michael Jordan and Jerry Stackhouse did not get off to a good start. Jordan was already a nine-time NBA All-Star when Stackhouse entered the league in 1995. Their first head-to-head matchup came on Jan. 13, 1996.

Jordan dropped 48 points on Stackhouse that night during a 120-93 victory for the Chicago Bulls. He made 18 of 28 shots in 34 minutes of action. Stackhouse finished 4-for-11 with 13 points. According to the Baltimore Sun, Jordan winked at the Philadelphia bench after most of his buckets and later boasted that “basketball taught (Stackhouse) a lesson.”

It all stemmed from a Stackhouse boast that made its way back to Jordan.

“I heard on CNN that somebody said I made a quote that said I could beat him one-on-one,” Stackhouse explained. “It’s not that I didn’t say it, I’m not going to back down, either. I think I might’ve said I didn’t feel anybody could stop me one-on-one. Next thing I know, it’s Jordan, it’s Chicago.”

Five nights later, the Bulls played the Toronto Raptors and rookie point guard Damon Stoudamire, who was off to an exceptional start to the season. Stoudamire had just been selected to play in the Rookie All-Star Game rather than the “real” one, but he wasn’t going to let reporters goad him into complaining.

“The last time a rookie said something was Jerry Stackhouse,” Stoudamire said. “Then Jordan lit him up for 48 points.”

Wise move. Jordan had a huge fourth quarter and finished with 38 points against Toronto, but Stoudamire had a solid night with 26 points and a dozen assists.

All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference