Jerry Stackhouse first came to Philadelphia as the third overall pick by the Sixers in the 1995 draft. And one of the first things they did was hand him a hard hat.

He was given a tour of the arena now known as the Wells Fargo Center, which was still under construction. It would be “Stack’s House,” everyone decided at that point.

“I was telling someone about that the other day,” Stackhouse, now a Brooklyn Net, now 18 years into his NBA career, said after the team’s shootaround Monday morning in the arena. “I was here, with a hard hat on, [wearing a] three-piece suit.”

We all know how it turned out. Stackhouse, who played his rookie year in the Spectrum and a little over a year in the new place, was evicted early in the '97-98 campaign. The Sixers decided to hitch their wagon to Allen Iverson, taken first overall in the '96 draft, and despite all the ups and downs of his 10-plus years in town, you’d have to say they made the right choice.

Stackhouse, now 38, was left to build something on his own, and he has done so. Unlike Iverson, he will not make the Hall of Fame, but his has been a very, very good career, one in which he has averaged 17 points while playing for eight teams. More significant is the fact that he has become one of the league’s most respected players, revered by coaches and teammates, by friends and foes.

You last as long as he has, and you have to be talented and tough. Canny and competitive. Also, willing to adapt to changing circumstances. At various points in his career, Stackhouse has been “the guy” (he averaged 29.8 points, second most in the league, for Detroit in 2000-01), the sidekick (he was sixth man on a Dallas club that reached the Finals in ’05-06), and now, the sage veteran.