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Thursday, August 13, 2009
Summering with Jerry Stackhouse


Another quickie guest dispatch/postcard from Marc Stein, who unexpectedly caught up with Jerry Stackhouse on his travels:  

You heard this reaction often earlier in the week when the magic of YouTube turned John Wall's summer-league throwdown over Jerry Stackhouse into an instant (internet) classic:


Good thing no one impounded THIS tape.

Now we suspect you'll be even happier to hear that such a thing was really never considered.

When staffers from the Greater North Carolina Pro-Am summer league informed Stackhouse that various media outlets were after the footage of Wall's jam, Stack's reaction was rather un-Nike-like:

"Let 'em have it."

Even in the midst of a free-agent summer that finds the two-time former All-Star still searching for a new team after a recent audition with the Knicks, Stackhouse has had fun with this, joking with friends about how "that was me 15 years ago" and insisting that he's "excited" about the tape circulating.
 
Not because he's ready to live with the fact that the kid who beat him to the rim might turn out to be the hottest freshman in college basketball this season at Kentucky. It's because A) Stackhouse accepts the reality that those who go up to challenge dunks will inevitably be dunked on eventually and B) he's genuinely thrilled to see the summer league he helped found -- which bills itself as "The Rucker of the South" -- get some overdue spotlight.

"If he would have dunked on Joe Blow, I don't think anybody would be making a big deal about it," Stackhouse said. "I went after four dunks in that game. I caught two of them and on two of them I got caught.

"But you know how our league works. It's all about who's the youngest, who's the freshest, who's next. That's what people want to see. I do, too. That's part of sports."

Here's a few more thoughts from Stackhouse on:

His chances of hooking on with the Knicks given New York's lack of depth at shooting guard
"I had a great visit with New York. Obviously next summer they're looking at making a big splash, but they want to maintain a level of competitiveness this season. I think they've got a lot of options, but I want to keep my options open, too. There's a lot of free agents out there that, in a normal summer, would have been signed by now. So we'll see."

The state of his game and body at 34 after plantar fasciitis conspired to limit him to just 10 games with Dallas last season, followed by his inclusion in the four-team deal that brought Shawn Marion to the Mavs and Stackhouse's subsequent buyout from the Memphis Grizzlies

"I'm just happy to be healthy and able to compete again. That's the most important thing. I'm just happy to get back to play. I think that's what teams want to see. If you rolled the whole tape from that game [with the Wall dunk] that's what you'd see. I think teams know what I bring to the table when I'm healthy."

Comparisons between Wall's dunk and Nike's recent attempts to prevent footage of Xavier's Jordan Crawford dunking on LeBron James from getting out
"There's a lot of [similarities with the Crawford dunk]. Not taking anything away from him – it was a great dunk – but I was pretty much flat-footed under the basket. It's not like they just jumped up over you and dunked it ... The whole thing is a big deal because of LeBron. It didn't even register to me that this would be anything until someone was telling me that [the Wall footage] had taken on a life of its own on YouTube.”

Whether the Kentucky-bound Wall's status as perhaps the most coveted recruit in the country made the outcome easier to stomach

"If you try to block dunks, it's going to happen to you. That's why a lot of guys don't try. If they watch the tape long enough, they'll see a couple go in my favor. But I will say that I don't see [Wall] staying in college very long. There's not many point guards in the NBA that can match up physically with where he is right now."

The two dunks he did manage to block in that game

"One was against [Lakers forward and former Mavericks teammate] Josh Powell. I'm blocking the pro guys and missing on the young ones."