He walked into McAlister Field House like any other parent, looking anxiously around for his kids among the horde playing basketball at summer camp.
The only difference is he's not exactly your average basketball parent — he's Jerry Stackhouse, the 6-6 all-pro guard for the Dallas Mavericks.
You might remember him when he played two seasons at North Carolina before bolting to the NBA in 1995, first with the Philadelphia 76ers, then the Detroit Pistons, then the Washington Wizards and most recently the Mavericks.
Since Dallas was eliminated from the NBA playoffs by the New Orleans Hornets, Stackhouse and his family are spending the summer in Charleston, enjoying the beach, the restaurants and all that the Lowcountry has to offer.
"We're here for the summer," Stackhouse said Wednesday as he picked up his three kids from coach Ed Conroy's basketball camp at The Citadel. "I'm an avid boater, so every summer over the last few years we've spent the summer at different port cities on the East Coast to see what we like. Charleston was next on the list."
Stackhouse is keeping his 50-foot Sea Ray at a local marina. The boat is named "Ragajja 42," a combination of his family's initials and his jersey number with the Mavs.
"I love it here," he said. "We were looking for some things for the kids to do and I saw a brochure about the camp. I didn't even know coach (Les) Robinson was the AD here and that Ed was the coach, so it's pretty cool."
A class act
Robinson remembers Stackhouse well. Stackhouse was the first player Robinson recruited after he was named basketball coach at N.C. State, replacing Jim Valvano.
"He took us to the altar," Robinson said, laughing about the recruiting process. "He ended up going to North Carolina with Dean Smith, but Jerry was always a class act."
True to form, Stackhouse spent some time working out with a few Citadel players Wednesday afternoon. For a multimillionaire basketball star, he's somewhat low key.
Coach Conroy said he and his coaches had no idea Stackhouse was around until he showed up at the gym this week to enroll his children in the camp.
For the record, Stackhouse has three kids — 11-year-old son Jaye, 8-year-old daughter Alexis, and 7-year-old son Antonio.
On the court they look and act like all the other campers. The only difference was when they left, they rode away in daddy's stretch Mercedes discreetly parked along the
side of the fieldhouse.
With a dozen years in the NBA, Stackhouse still looks lean and mean as he did in college, weighing in at 215, which is not bad for a 34-year-old father of three.
And even though his team is not in the NBA Finals, he's keeping a close eye on the series between the L.A. Lakers and the Boston Celtics.
"I think it's sort of going to script," Stackhouse said. "Boston had the best home record all season and they held home court. Now the Lakers are trying to hold serve and put a lot of pressure on Boston when they come home again to win two games."
Stackhouse said he grew up a Lakers fan in Kinston, N.C.
"I was a big 'showtime' Magic Johnson fan in the '80s, obviously with James Worthy being from North Carolina I was pulling for them," he said. "But there are some deserving guys on both teams who have been around a long time."
For now, however, Stackhouse is content to spend some quality family time in the Holy City and enjoy the good life.
"This is a beautiful town with great restaurants," Stackhouse said. "My wife and I love to eat and my kids love the water. So this is a perfect get-away for a few months. Then it's back to work for me and back to school for them."
Reach Ken Burger at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-5598.