From an outside perspective, it seems like Jerry Stackhouse would have cherished his time with the Washington Wizards, as he was given the opportunity to share the floor with Michael Jordan, an admitted idol whom he was at times compared to as a 6-foot-6 star guard from the University of North Carolina.
But Stackhouse, now the head coach at Vanderbilt, views that time with deep regret. He looked back on those days on the latest episode of the 'Woj Pod' hosted by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and explained why he still isn't over the frustration he felt at the time.
"Honestly, I wish I never played in Washington and for a number of reasons," Stackhouse said. "I felt we were on our way in Detroit before I got traded there. 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.
"Things were still being run through Michael Jordan," he continued. "[Head coach] 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. So, pretty much everything that Michael wanted to do [we did]. We got off to a pretty good start and he didn't like the way the offense was running because it was running a little bit more through me. He wanted to get a little more isolations for him on the post, of course, so we had more isolations for him on the post. And it just kind of spiraled in a way that I didn't enjoy that season at all. The kind of picture 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."
What made matters worse for Stackhouse is that his previous team, the Detroit Pistons, won a title in 2004, just two years after he left in a trade. The Wizards sent promising young guard Richard Hamilton to Detroit for Stackhouse in a six-player deal. Hamilton was the leading scorer on that Finals-winning team while playing the same position Stackhouse did.
"[Jordan] had a young guard there in Rip Hamilton, who I was traded for to Detroit, that he didn't feel like he could get it done with. So he was like, 'Let's go get Stackhouse, I know he's tougher and he can score, let's go bring him in here,'" Stackhouse said.
"Watching a team I helped kind of build a foundation for in Detroit go on to win a championship a couple years later, it left a bad taste in my mouth, so I was pretty happy to get out of Washington and get on to Dallas."
Stackhouse was traded by the Wizards in 2004 to the Mavericks in the deal that brought Antawn Jamison to D.C. Stackhouse would play five years in Dallas, only to see them win a title two years after he left. Two years later, he played for the Miami Heat, who would win a championship the year after he left there.
That's some bad timing on multiple accounts. Stackhouse feels like he missed out on a ring, but you could argue he missed out on several.
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