The Franchise

Stack on starting his NBA career in Philly, his workouts with then-high school star Kobe Bryant and his new life as a coach.
by January 19, 2016
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A little over 20 years ago, the Philadelphia 76ers were in the midst of rebuilding. The team and fans alike had enjoyed the winning ways and legendary players from the not-so-distant past, and wanted to return back to prominence. With the No. 3 overall pick in the 1995 NBA Draft, Philly selected Jerry Stackhouse and looked towards him as a main source of scoring and playmaking.

Prior to his arrival, the 76ers had traded away superstar Charles¬†Barkley a few years earlier, and with his basketball pedigree and¬†ability to play above the rim, Stackhouse was the fresh new face¬†that everyone was looking for.¬†With a signature shoe deal from FILA and a 19.2 ppg scoring average¬†during his first season, Philly had their fan¬†favorite, and it quickly became Stack’s¬†home.

Over the brief two-plus years Jerry spent¬†in South Philly, there were memorable moments. For starters, there were widespread rumors that Kobe¬†Bryant was working out with the team in West Philadelphia at¬†St. Joseph’s University.

This was basically unheard of at the time, because even with a¬†father that played in the League, the question remained: How could a¬†high school athlete, compete and or be able to keep up¬†NBA players? By ’95, only Shawn Kemp, and Kevin Garnett had¬†recently made the jump from prep to pros, and they¬†were¬†big men. Bryant was a 16-year-old guard that¬†not only proved he belonged, he was often times heard to be¬†the best option in the gym.¬†Legend in and around the city was that Bryant was taking all bets,¬†and destroying any and all competition.

The other thing that happened during¬†Stackhouse’s time¬†with the¬†76ers was, simply, Allen Iverson. During their first year together, that backcourt combined for 44.2 points a night. But¬†it¬†wasn’t¬†that easy to coexist with arguably the best under 6-foot guard in¬†the history of the game‚ÄĒespecially when he needs the basketball just¬†as much (okay, more) than anyone else on the team.

Halfway into the 1997-98 season Stackhouse was traded to the Pistons for Eric Montross, Theo Ratliff, and Aaron McKie. They became the building blocks for the 2000-01 Eastern Conference Champion 76ers, and Stack emerged as an NBA All-Star that enjoyed a long NBA career.

Jerry Stackhouse is currently an assistant coach with the Toronto¬†Raptors. Since Bryant is retiring after an illustrious career, it’s about time Stackhouse¬†set the record straight¬†on what has turned into Philly basketball folklore. Watch in the video above as he answers that, plus talks about¬†what the city means to him, and his future aspirations¬†in the game of basketball.

Anthony Gilbert is a SLAM contributor. Follow him on Twitter.