Sometimes playing with your hero isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, even if that idol is Michael Jordan.
Jerry Stackhouse, who like Jordan was a North Carolina Tar Heels college product, teamed up with His Airness in Washington during Jordan’s final NBA season in 2002-03 — the legend’s second season with the Wizards following a three-year absence after retiring from the Chicago Bulls in 1998.
“Honestly, I wish I never played in Washington, for a number of reasons,” Stackhouse said on ESPN’s The Woj Pod on Friday.
“I felt like we were on our way in Detroit before I got traded there. But it was really challenging to be able to be in a situation with an idol who, at this particular point, I felt like I was a better player (than Jordan). And things were still being run through Michael Jordan.”
Stackhouse played 18 seasons in the NBA, including two in Washington after being traded by the Detroit Pistons for Rip Hamilton in a six-player swap in 2002. He averaged a team-best 21.5 points-per-game in his first season under former Bulls coach Doug Collins, just ahead of the 39-year-old Jordan’s career-low 20.0 points-per-game on a 37-45 team.
Not many were brave enough to overrule MJ.Source:Supplied
“I think Doug Collins — I love Doug — but I think that was an opportunity for him to make up for some ill moments that they may have had back in Chicago,” Stackhouse said.
“So, (it was) pretty much everything that Michael wanted to do. We got off to a pretty good start, and then I think he (Jordan) didn’t like the way the offence was running, because it was running a little bit more through me. He wanted to get a little more isolations on the post, of course, so we had more isolations for him on the post.
“And it just kind of spiralled in a way that where I didn’t enjoy that season at all. 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.”
This story first appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission
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