The nights Jerry Stackhouse lit up The Palace

Some nights I’d walk through the Pistons dressing room pregame looking for tidbits for stories and columns.

A few times guard Jerry Stackhouse would summons me to his stall for a message.

“Hey T, come here,” he said. “I got something to tell you.”

He’d grab my pregame notes, open it up, and scroll down the starting lineup of his opponent that night. Stackhouse stopped his finger at the name he was looking for and proclaim. “This dude can’t check me. I’m going to light his ass up tonight.”

It was a preview of a 35 or 40-point blitz. Stackhouse, who played with supreme confidence, usually kept his word. On these nights he pulled up for mid range jumpers on the fly or would cross over his opponent for a dunk.

He played five seasons in Detroit and was the key trading piece that brought Rip Hamilton to the Pistons from the Washington Wizards.

After the trade Wizards General Manager Michael Jordan supposedly told his boys he felt bad about taking advantage of Pistons GM Joe Dumars in the trade. Although Stackhouse put up big numbers with the Pistons — once averaging 29.8 points per game — the Pistons were essentially a .500 team and plowed through four coaches during Stackhouse’s short stay here.

Jordan came out of retirement and played for the Wizards and Stackhouse became his only teammate to outscore him. However, Stackhouse was not happy with the arrangement because he felt coaches ran to many players for Jordan, who obviously was past his prime.

Hamilton became the energizer rabbit and a key piece for the 2004 Pistons NBA championship. Could Stackhouse have done the same with the championship Pistons? I like to think he could. But you never know.

Stackhouse spoke with a boldness and bluntness that made him appealing to journalists. He is still that way today as head coach at Vanderbilt University. This season Stackhouse drew heat when he criticized his team and said some of his players were soft and did not want to play basketball.

He later apologized and said players are going through added stress because of Covid-19 protocols.

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Published by terryfoster8

I am a 58 year old retired sports journalist, husband and father of two living outside of Detroit in search of his next big adventure in life.

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