Below, check out Dime’s interview with the 16,000-plus point scorer as he exclusively takes us into his life, speaking on the subjects of coaching, the state of the Association, his connection to Jackie Robinson and more.
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Dime: Can you talk about your experience at the NBA Assistant Coaches Program?
Jerry Stackhouse: It was a great experience. Working with the kids was a lot of fun. I never thought I would get to the point where I would be coaching; it’s crazy. Toward the end of my career I began to think about it because of my knowledge of the game. I’ve been coaching an AAU team for the last five years which has been a great experience.
We are here to learn the assistant coaching aspect and what it takes to be an assistant coach. As players, we don’t really understand all that goes on in a coaching staff. Paul Silas came and spoke to us, which was great. There’s no real blueprint to it. It’s who you know and your work ethic at the end of the day and that’s what it comes down to. I’ve played the game for a lot of great coaches and people think players don’t know how to coach but we really understand and can relate to the players and understand the dynamic.
Dime: As you mentioned, Paul Silas attended the camp as a mentor. What are some key points he brought up that stood out to you?
JS: The head coach is the head coach and you have to understand that and make the head coach and players look good. As an assistant coach, you have to come in with the mentality to do everything you can to make them look good. The head coach and the players receive the credit and no one really talks about the assistant coach. That’s a hurdle for former players and being able to understand that is important. He did a good job of talking about that and trying to explain that. Also, if you have questions there is always a time and a place to approach the head coach but never step out of line; there’s a hierarchy. As an assistant coach, you must have good knowledge of the game and the head coach will put you in positions where he feels you can succeed, whether it’s offense or defense. But it’s great to know them both so you’re more valuable.
Dime: Do you plan on pursuing a coaching job this summer?
JS: Yeah. I would take an opportunity possibly within the next six months. I’ve had a couple opportunities coming right from my playing days but I just thought I would take some time off and step away from the game. This year helped me get my mind off being a player and now I’m going to take the next step–to teach the game and coach the game. I feel like I’ve been around the game enough and have a good understanding of how it should be played from both the offensive and defensive standpoints.
Dime: You’ve played many years of basketball for numerous coaches. Is there one that stands out to you?
JS: At North Carolina under Dean Smith, I learned the fundamentals of the game. I learned a lot from Larry Brown and Don Nelson, too. Rick Carlisle was more on the analytical side and trending toward numbers, taking bits and pieces. I’ve had a lot of experiences and make my own thing out of all of it.