Along with recruiting, Vanderbilt men's basketball head coach Jerry Stackhouse shared his thoughts on the ESPN/Netflix docu-series The Last Dance during his recent video interview with WKRN News 2's Kayla Anderson.
The series took viewers through the run of dominance of the Chicago Bulls and superstar Michael Jordan as Chicago captured six NBA championships in eight years from 1991-1998, and dominated the sports landscape for almost a decade.
Stackhouse was more than just an observer during the Bulls' second three-peat—he was a rival, having been drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1995. Stackhouse played against Jordan's Bulls during the back-to-back-to-back title seasons of 1996-97-98.
He would later become a teammate of Jordan's with the Washington Wizards, something Stackhouse has said before he regretted. Having to witness Jordan in his declining years after growing up a fan, in the same home state, and attending the University of North Carolina, the same school Jordan had led to a national championship decades earlier was tough for Stackhouse.
"I know Michael well, actually," said Stackhouse. "We're both Tar Heels, born and bred. We're both from the state of North Carolina, went to the University of North Carolina, and he's a hero and icon of mine since I was a little boy."
"I used to use Michael Jordan to get out of trouble when I got my earrings when I was in high school, and my mom, she was ready to, aw man, she was upset, and all I said was 'Michael Jordan got one,' and then things calmed down a little bit."
As for Washington and being Jordan's teammate in his final season in the NBA, Stackhouse once again repeated what he as said previously.
"Obviously, I could have done without the Washington (Wizards) experience," said Stackhouse. "When you've got someone on such a pedestal, and you're seeing them at the end of their careers, him being the alpha that he is, he wasn't going to budge one bit, so I still appreciate that from him, but it wasn't the best situation for me. But for me, I've still got the greatest respect for him and what he's accomplished, and in my mind, he's still the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), no doubt, the greatest of all time, the best ever to do it."
"You could just see the competitiveness of him," continued Stackhouse." Some people it could be a little tiring, but others were like, that's what it takes to win, so it's all in the perception, but for him, he got it done. At the end of the day, what he did was right in his mind and a lot of people's minds."
Stackhouse's favorite part of the series was one many people, myself included, enjoyed most: "The Dream Team."
"As for my favorite moments of it was the USA Basketball," concluded Stackhouse. "That practice with him (Jordan) and Magic (Johnson) going at it and Magic throwing the ball in the stands, it just shows that competitiveness of that group, and just the charisma of Magic too."
"Then when everything was silent on the bus and he (Johnson) said, "I guess we shouldn't have pissed him off," concluded Stackhouse. "His leadership still showed. There's different ways to lead, and I don't think there's a right or wrong way; it's just what best suits your style."
For anyone who was a fan of basketball, Jordan, or those Bulls teams, it's worth the time to watch it.
For Stackhouse, the story has come full circle, having played against Jordan and Scottie Pippen, the spending a season as teammates with Jordan until now being the head coach at Vanderbilt and coaching Pippen's son Scotty Pippen Jr.
Stackhouse played against the elder Pippen, but never with him, yet they are on the same team now.