When Jerry Stackhouse entered the NBA during the first Clinton administration, he had a shaved head, hardly any stubble on his chin and displayed out-of-the-gym leaping ability in his signature Fila sneakers. Eighteen seasons later, with President Obama set to embark on his second term, Stackhouse still has a shaved head but now has gray hairs sprinkled into a fully-grown goatee and chooses layups over dunks in re-released models of those same shoes.
When he first pulled on his No. 42 jersey with the Philadelphia 76ers, Stackhouse didn’t realize he would be around long enough to see the NBA undergo so many transitions — from Michael Jordan dominating the league to LeBron James taking the reins as its best player — or that he would still be competing against players who were born in 1993, the year he graduated from high school.
“If you would’ve asked when I was 20 if I still wanted to play when I was 38, I would’ve been like, ‘Nah,’ ” said Stackhouse, who was drafted third overall out of North Carolina in 1995 but now serves as a valued reserve with the Brooklyn Nets. “I would’ve felt like if I had 12 to 15 years, those are the numbers you were seeing from guys play that had a great career."