[Source] - “Honestly, I wish I never played in Washington and for a number of reasons,” Stackhouse said. “I felt we were on our way in Detroit before I got traded there. It was really challenging to be able to be in a situation with an idol who at this particular point, I felt like I was a better player. Things were still being run through Michael Jordan, and Doug Collins, I love Doug, but I think that was an opportunity for him to make up for some ill moments that they may have had back in Chicago.
“So, pretty much everything that Michael wanted to do… We got off to a pretty good start and he didn’t like the way the offense was running because it was running a little bit more through me. He wanted to get a little more isolations on the post, of course, so we had more isolations for him on the post. And it just kind of spiraled in a way that I didn’t enjoy that season at all. Kind of the picture I had in my mind of Michael Jordan and the reverence I had for him, I lost a little bit of it during the course of that year.”
Considering Jerry Stackhouse is a Carolina kid that went to UNC this is pretty major. The man straight up idolized Michael Jordan only for that to be ruined by being his teammate. Now that said, this is the least shocking thing ever. We know how competitive Jordan is. That's nothing new. We also know that part of what made MJ great was the fact he thought/knew he was better than anyone else on the court. Shit, that's still the case. You put him on the court now and he'll convince himself he's the best one out there.
The year he's talking about would be 2002-03, the one year he played with MJ in Washington. It was his first year there after being traded from Detroit. You want to talk about some bad luck? He gets traded from a Pistons team that's about to win a title and be a contender in the East for years to the Wizards. Stackhouse was fucking good too.
He actually finished as the leading scorer on that Wizards team that went 37-45. But what did he expect? Jordan was running the team. He had Doug Collins as his head coach. As respected as Collins was and is, that team was Jordan's through and through. If he wanted the offense changed to run through him, who was going to tell him no? Collins was going to keep Jordan happy. The front office, well, that was Jordan.
I don't even blame Jordan. It's how he's wired. But this is one of the only times I can remember a guy coming out and saying he lost reverence for Jordan simply by being his teammate. Even though we consider MJ the best NBA player of all time, his career is still so weird. It's filled with what-ifs, most notably not 'leaving' to play baseball. But also what if he never played for the Wizards? It's glossed over because of his run with the Bulls, but what if he just went out in 98? We wouldn't have stories like this. Maybe Stackhouse becomes a completely different player.
Between punching teammates in the face in Chicago and now this it's almost like Jordan wasn't the best teammate. Well, except for the whole winning titles, always seemingly coming up clutch and competing every night thing. But other than that, I'll tell you.