Let’s go back to the summer of 1995 in North Carolina where UNC alum face off against each other every year. Michael Jordan was coming off of his 1st year back in the league that ended with him turning the ball over to Nick Anderson and an early playoff exit to the Orlando Magic – the last team to beat a Jordan/Bulls team. Jerry Stackhouse was coming off his spectacular sophomore season and was ready to challenge MJ for the title of most electrifying UNC shooting guard in the NBA. His first challenges came that summer in at the Tarheel warmup sessions where Stack supposedly did more than hold his own against the Goat. So much so that he even let the media know about how he was able to beat Jordan 1-on-1.
MJ never said anything in the media about Stackhouse’s comments and he didn’t respond to Stack’s teammate Vernon Maxwell who made a lot of comments to the media about not caring about MJ’s return, but when the now famous 72-10 Bulls faced off against Stackhouse and his lottery bound 76ers, MJ let his actions do all the talking.
Jordan went off for 48 points (18-28fg) & 10 rebounds in 3 quarters. Stackhouse & Maxwell combined for 5 field goals & 17 points in a 27 point loss.
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Three days later Stackhouse, still talking and was quoted as saying “the NBA was easy,” would have another shot at showing the world what he supposedly could do against MJ during the summer. He has a much better game scoring 24 and hitting half of his shots but MJ again outscored him (32) in just 3 quarters in another double digit loss for the 76ers. The big story of the night was Rodman getting his only triple double of his career – 10pts, 21rebs, 10ast.
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In their final meeting of the season was a much different story as MJ and Stack went head to head and down to the wire in what turned out to be a 4 point victory for the Bulls. Stack had 31 (but on 8 of 21 shooting) & 8 and MJ had 38 & 11. Mad Max even showed up and scored 18 points.
The Bulls & 76ers did “play” each other one more time at the end of the year but the not even rookie of the year Jerry Stackhouse sat it out and MJ only played 29 minutes in another 30 point win for the Bulls.
The one, maybe more, positive thing I will say about Stackhouse is he was a very underrated offensive player in the first half of his career, he ranks in the top 3 most exciting dunkers in NCAA history and he has humbled himself over the years and I wish him all the luck in Brooklyn.
PT2 tomorrow: Stackhouse scores 57 and breaks MJ’s record at the United Center in a controversial game.