Stackhouse, Jerry 1974–
Jerry Stackhouse 1974–
Professional basketball player
The youngest of 11 children, Jerry Stackhouse learned the “team” concept at a young age. A combination of strong family ties, faith, and athletics put him on a path that would take him through a successful college basketball career and land him at the front door of the National Basketball Association’s annual draft. Chosen in the first round, Stackhouse used upper-echelon talent and skill on the court to guide himself through the pro ranks and, ultimately, to the status of NBA team leader.
Born to George and Minnie Stackhouse in Kinston, North Carolina, on November 5, 1974, Jerry Stack-house was the last of 11 children. Steeped in family values with a mother as a pastor, Stackhouse spent a lot of his time in church. It was during those days in that small town that Stackhouse began building a foundation of behavior and attitude that eventually catapulted him to the top ranks of the NBA.
Stackhouse told the Sporting News that he was raised in pretty simple surroundings, about 75 miles inland. Michael Sokolove’s interview with Stackhouse yielded a small glimpse to the player’s environment. “Jerry’s father, George, drove a truck for the city; his mother, Minnie, was, and is, the pastor of Foster Chapel, a white masonry structure on a country road with not a whole lot else around it,” Sokolove wrote. “I spent a lot of time in that church,” Stackhouse said in Sokolove’s Sporting News article. “Probably more than I wanted to. But I wouldn’t go back and change anything about it,” he added.
Stackhouse established an early pattern of winning, going as far back to his senior year in high school, where his Oak Hill Academy squad was ranked first in the nation. He later attended one of the country’s most storied and prominent basketball schools—the University of North Carolina—where comparisons between Stackhouse and the school’s most famous alumnus, Michael Jordan, began. At UNC, Stackhouse would guide the Tar Heels to the Final Four of the NCAA Championship Tournament in 1995, leading the team with 19.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in only his sophomore season.
Following his second year at UNC, Stackhouse bolted for the National Basketball Association but not before making a promise he later kept. According to Jet Magazine, Stackhouse’s options became visibly clearer. “Stackhouse was 50 hours short of his degree when he left the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in
Born Jerome Stackhouse on November 5, 1974, in Kingston, NC; son of George (a truck driver) and Minnie Stackhouse (a pastor); married Ramirra Marks on December 24, 2000; children: Jaye and Alexis. Education: University of North Carolina, B.A., 1999.
Career: Entered NBA draft as a sophomore in 1995, selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the third pick; acquired by Detroit from Philadelphia in a December 18, 1997 trade.
Awards: Selected by coaches as a reserve in the 2000 NBA All-Star Game; selected to All-Rookie First Team, 1996; named NBA Rookie of the Month for March, 1996, the first 76er to do so since the award’s inception; named First-Team All-American by the Associated Press, 1995; named National College Player of the Year, Sports Illustrated, 1995; First-Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference and Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Southeast Regional, 1995; won Everett Case Award as the MVP of the ACC Tournament as a freshman for UNC.
Addresses: Detroit Pistons, Two Championship Drive, Auburn Hills, MI 48326.
1995,” the article stated. “He left school early for the NBA in part because his mother, Minnie, was diagnosed with breast cancer during his sophomore year, and he wanted to help financially.” Stackhouse told Jet, “This probably means more to me than anything in basketball.” He attended four summer sessions in a row to complete his coursework, and Stackhouse earned his bachelor’s degree in African American studies in December of 1999. His mother was present as his graduation ceremony.
Having made up his mind, Stackhouse entered the 1995 draft, where he was the third overall selection by the Philadelphia 76ers. Stackhouse learned to cut his teeth on a team of rag-tag veterans, hotheads, and NBA misfits. He wasted little time shining for the City of Brotherly Love. During his first NBA season, Stackhouse led his team in scoring with 19.2 points per game and started all but one of the 72 games in which he appeared. Additionally, he was named NBA Rookie of the Month for March 1996, the first Sixer to earn the award since its inception. He finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting, led the 76ers in scoring 26 times, and was selected to the Rookie First Team.
His 1996-97 season matched his rookie campaign. There, he averaged 20.7 points per game, a careerbest 4.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists. He started every game, leading his team in minutes played, steals, 3-point shots and was also third in assists. The 1997-98 season marked a series of milestones, including a trade that sent him from Philadelphia to the Detroit Pistons, where despite playing in the shadow of superstar Grant Hill, he attained the status of team leader and became one the Motor City’s most widely recognized sports figures. Prior to the trade, Stackhouse was averaging 16 points per game. In 57 games with Detroit following the deal, Stackhouse maintained that same consistency, averaging 15.7 points and 3.1 assists per game. He did the same thing the next year, averaging 14.5 points per game.
When the 1999-2000 season began, Stackhouse had established himself firmly as the team’s leader on the court and in the locker room. During the 82-game season, Stackhouse averaged a career-high of 23.6 points per game. He also set career-highs in points scored (1,939), rebounds (315), assists (395), steals (103) and games played (82). Of those 82 games, he scored for double-figures in 80. Additionally, he scored 30 or more points in 15 games, was the third-highest scoring guard in the NBA, and led the league in made free throws with 618. Having such a breakthrough season where he ranked among the league’s best players, Stackhouse was rewarded by being named as an East reserve for the All-Star Game.
Stackhouse’s impressive numbers by the season’s midway point earned him the All-Star selection. However, the Pistons still only played .500 basketball, with a win for every loss and vice versa. By now, the guard/forward was in his fifth season in the league. Stackhouse told Detroit Free Press writer Helene St. James that getting the nod from NBA coaches was truly an honor. “I can’t even put into words what it means,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming, and to finally get here is a great feeling. It’s almost a burden off my head. I think I can settle down and play even better basketball now because that’s not hovering over my head anymore.”
Stackhouse dismantled league opponents with his open-court play, the ability to drive a lane and score on more than one defender. At six-feet, six inches and 198 pounds, Stackhouse was muscular, fast, and innovative on the court. He could slash inside and around players or stay in the backcourt and fire off jumpers. This dominance on the court quickly put him at the forefront of the league, earning him the respect of his teammates and club officials. Those in the organization and members of the media began to take notice. Stackhouse’s efforts were also recognized by team president Joe Dumars. “’Jerry has really taken on the role of leader, and I’m proud of the way he has handled things,’” Dumars told the Detroit Free Press. “We expect these guys to compete every night, and that’s what I want every guy to expect when he steps on the floor here,” he continued.
Before the season, Hill signed with Orlando, clearing the way for Stackhouse to step up and lead the team, which he had little difficulty doing. “Stackhouse has become a spokesman,” Perry A. Farrell wrote in the Detroit Free Press. “He has become a recruiter. He has called his new teammates and kept in touch with the old ones. He arranged for most of the players to get together this week to play, talk and get ready for training camp, which is just a couple of weeks away. With Hill gone, this will be a transition season for the Pistons, and fans will see even more of an evolution of Stackhouse as a leader and player.”
That proved to be true in the 1999-2000 season, where at its end, Stackhouse helped the team reach a playoff spot. But as had been the case with the Pistons of that time, futility reigned, and Miami swept the 1999-2000 team in the opening round. Try as they might, Detroit struggled while Stackhouse shone. The 2000-2001 season was a prime example.
If the rest of the Pistons roster played the way Stackhouse did, the team would have been nearly unbeatable. In the 2000-2001 season Stackhouse put up statistics that rivaled any superstar in the league. He missed only two games that season, starting each of the remaining 80 contests. According to Stackhouse’s stat list in the Pistons’ Media Guide, Stackhouse ranked second in the league in per game scoring (29.8). Playing 40 minutes per game, he added 3.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists and just over 1 steal per game. Stackhouse went on a tear that season, starting at the free-throw line. He led the league in free throws made with 666 and finished second in attempts with 810.
In six seasons in the league, Stackhouse elevated his scoring proficiency to amazing heights. He scored 30-plus points in four consecutive games at the end of November of 2000. He logged 40-plus points in eight games, 30-plus points in 44 games, and more than 20 points 73 times. His Piston points added up and before the season finished, broke Dave Bing’s single-season point total of 2,213, making Stackhouse only the fourth Piston to score more than 2,000 points in a season. In April of 2001, Stackhouse electrified Chicago’s United Center when he scored an NBA seasonhigh, career-high, and franchise-high 57 points against the Bulls. He also added four rebounds, five assists, and a steal in that game. For the second straight season, Stackhouse was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team. However, all the individual success did not mask the team’s overall mediocrity. At the season’s end, Detroit finished with a 32-50 record, failing to make the playoffs.
In similar situations, many high-profile players often opt to leave town when things get bad, heading for a contender. Stackhouse’s contract was up in 1999, and he gladly re-signed with the club for another multi-year deal. However, having exceptional talent individually, yet struggling with a team collectively, can take its toll on a star player. “I am disappointed about where we are,” Stackhouse said in the Detroit News. “But I couldn’t come into the season moaning about what we lost, or about the people they put around me. Listen, they gave me a real second chance here and I am in this for the long haul. I am going to be with the Pistons— unless the organization decides to go in a different direction—for a long time. This is going to be my home for the rest of my career.”
Like many successful professional athletes, Stackhouse has added community involvement to his regimen. He is active in the Children’s Miracle Network, American Cancer Society, and the Boys and Girls Club. In March of 2001, Stackhouse agreed to be featured in a series of public service announcements for the National Diabetes Education Program. According to information found at www.alapubhealth.org, two of his sisters died from complications associated with diabetes, and both of his parents have it as well. “Managing diabetes is tougher than anything I do,” he stated in a television public service announcement. It’s also about as tough as keeping him from scoring.
The Detroit Free Press, February 2, 2000; September 15, 2000
The Detroit News, January 25, 2001.
The Sporting News, January 15, 1996, p. 34
Additional information for this profile was obtained from The Detroit Pistons 2001-2001 Media Guide.
"Stackhouse, Jerry 1974–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 22, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/stackhouse-jerry-1974
"Stackhouse, Jerry 1974–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved October 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/stackhouse-jerry-1974
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