Former NBA shooting guard Jerry Stackhouse idolized Michael Jordan while he was coming up, yet when he actually got to play alongside him, it wasn’t as enjoyable experience as he’d imagined.
Jordan’s second and final return to the NBA would see him suit up for the Washington Wizards and, while he was clearly not the MJ of old, the expectations were hardly forgiving and the six-time champion expected even more from himself than fans did.
According to Stackhouse, playing that final year with the basketball icon did not go so well as he felt the team’s offense should have gone through him. Michael obviously felt differently and Doug Collins, Washington’s coach at the time, let Jordan dictate how things were run. The player and coach did have a bit of history, with Collins having coached His Airness in Chicago, plus Jordan was basically his boss as he was the Wizards’ part owner and President of Basketball Operations.
“Honestly, I wish I never played in Washington and for a number of reasons,” Stackhouse said on this Wednesday’s edition of The Woj Pod. “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. [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.”
Transcription Credit: Sports Illustrated