TrueHoop: Jerry Stackhouse
The post is 3,000 words long, so that claim is entirely believable.
The whole thing is interesting -- for instance about how the Bucks have been playing so well, the team dynamic and the ways in which Brandon Jennings is like a young Allen Iverson.
But honestly, the thing that blew my mind was the moment when Stackhouse tells how he got in what he calls the best shape of his life.
He played at North Carolina, perhaps the most storied college program in the land. He has played for the Pistons, with the magical Arnie Kander. He has played for the Mavericks, who employ nutritionists and have all the best exercise equipment.
Meanwhile, Stackhouse is an aging athlete who persists in playing a game that gets him to the line a lot. He gets banged up.
Put all that together, and don't you assume he'd have an unbelievably refined workout program? I'm picturing spreadsheets, trainers ... food weighed to the gram.
Turns out, the lynch pin of the Stackhouse operation is available from late night television for three monthly payments of $39.95.
I felt that after the All-Star Break some of the teams that wanted to fill their rosters for the playoffs would give me a call and I would be able to do that.
It just so happened that I got that call earlier and it caught me a little bit off guard. But fortunately for me I was working out with a high school team right there in Atlanta, North Gwinnett High School. I was going over there maybe twice a week and working with them, coming back to the gym.
I also got on this P-90X from this infomercial. I was watching the infomercial late at night and I ordered it in the beginning of December. I got in some of the best shape I’ve ever been in, just from doing some home training.
Amazing huh? I'd link to the website but I'm already sure people are going to start thinking this is a paid infomercial. I assure you it's not.
In any case, if you're a Bucks fan, I guess you should be thankful that Stackhouse stays up late watching TV. 'Cause remember, before he came along, your team wasn't even assured a playoff spot. Now they're the talk of the League.
Caller: “I don’t want to disgrace one of your fellow Tar Heels but Vince Carter is not playing very well for the Magic. Do you think they made a mistake by not trying harder to get [Hedo] Turkoglu back and then trading for him? I almost think he’d be better off the bench as kind of like a spark maybe that would help out. I don’t know, you tell me.”
Jerry Stackhouse: “I got the scoop on that when we played them [February 2 in Orlando] and I’m glad we got to that, because I asked him. I was like, ‘Man, what’s going on? Is it the team? Kind of being close to home? What is it?’ He’s like, ‘Stack, man, my knee isn’t right. I’m basically not able, I’m able to play but ...’ I think he kind of has a number in his mind of how long he really wants to continue playing because of all of the pounding and jumping that he has on his knees, and that’s what he told me, so I think that maybe that’s some of it. Hopefully he can find a way to weather that or strengthen it and be able to at least turn it on for them in the playoffs. But him playing at the level that he’s playing right now, I don’t see them really getting back to the Finals. They need him to be that guy, they need him to be that closer because they don’t have a bona fide closer on that team. Rashard Lewis has won some games for them late but you can’t really throw the ball down to [Dwight] Howard late because if he goes to the free throw line, [there’s] a good chance of having an empty possession with that. So you’ve got to have Vince Carter, who is a guy that has been a closer for the most part of his career, to step up and be that closer for them. And, I think, as far as he’s concerned, his body might not allow him to do that.”
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."
OK, look, here's the deal. I have read the comments. I know a lot of you have had it up to here with talk of blogger bans -- and admittedly, it's not really much of a general-interest NBA story. So I'm not even going to make you scroll past.
On the other hand, if you want to read more about it ...
He took all kinds of questions from readers to people like Mark Cuban, Avery Johnson, Del Harris, and others.
Then he wrote a mini-article in response to each of 15 questions.
Questions ranged from is the team experimenting at the moment? (Yes.) Is Avery Johnson being kinder and gentler? Is Dirk Nowitzki being reinvented? What's wrong with the team's free-throw shooting? (Answer to that one: there's some stuff going on with Dirk's shot, nonetheless the team is shooting better than any other in NBA history.) Fascinating report card on the team 20 or so games into the seaon.
Two of the questions ended up directly addressing something I always wonder about when I watch the team: who gets the big shot? In big plays during the playoffs, it seemed like the team sometimes didn't know the answer to that question. Sometimes Jason Terry would just fire away. Sometimes Nowitzki would pass up what looked like the first option. Sometimes Jerry Stackhouse would be the guy ...
IS THERE A NO. 1 OPTION ON OFFENSE? A TOTEM POLE, OF SORTS? DO THE MAVS LIKE TO 'RIDE THE HOT HAND'?
Jason Terry is watching two TV screens. And he's got the headphones half-on. But he happily puts his electronics on hold to entertain a question he finds intriguing.
"It's not set in stone,'' Jet says as he sits in front of his luxury locker stall. "There are the plays we run, and we run them for a reason. But on top of that, we all need to know, for instance, that Josh tends to be very aggressive early in the game, so let's get him the ball. You want Dirk to be aggressive throughout the game, and he needs his touches. And then late in games, we have me and we have Stack.''
I look at what I've just scribbled down. Josh. Dirk. Me (Terry). Stack.
Looks like a "pecking order,'' a "totem pole,'' to me.
"I wouldn't say that; I don't like that phrase,'' Terry says. "But it does seem to fall that way most nights, doesn't it?''
WHAT'S WITH THAT FOUR-FINGER SIGN JET THROWS UP AFTER MAKING A LONG-RANGE SHOT?
"Dirk actually started that, and I stole it from him,'' says Jason Terry, who then stands up in front of his locker and hoists up two hands full of fingers, as if to model for me.
"The call me 'The Fourth-Quarter Man,' because everybody knows I can miss some shots in the first three quarters, but in the fourth quarter, it's going in! ... You should see the ribbing I get in practice, though, when I miss one. 'What's a matter, Fourth-Quarter Man?' they yell.
"And it's usually Dirk doing the yelling.''
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)