Professional athletes are loathe to credit their opponents. For whatever reason, it’s often considered a sign of weakness to admit another team or player can shut you down or beat you. Whether it be Evan Turner admitting the 76ers wanted to avoid the Heat in the first round of the playoffs or Kobe Bryant letting everyone know that all self-proclaimed Kobe Stoppers are false prophets, there’s a long history of NBA players and teams refusing to credit their opponents.

Jerry Stackhouse doesn’t care about any of that. He’s an honest man and that’s why he’s picking the Heat to win this year’s championship. Not the team he plays for, the Hawks — the team that cut him early last season. From, your new favorite website:

I am clearly planning for Atlanta to be in the Finals — if I put on my analyst hat, however, if we are looking at the personnel and everything that’s going on during these playoffs, I have to take Miami to win it all. Miami is the favorite to come out of the East, and I’m not counting out the Lakers in the West the way Ramon Sessions and Kobe Bryant are playing.

Nothing says planning to be in the Finals more than picking another team from your conference to win the championship. That is a sure sign that you are confident in your team’s chances. “Outside of the fact that we aren’t the best team in our conference and another team is going to win the championship, I totally think we’re going to be in the Finals.” Sure, Jer-Bear.

But at least he is honest. I think we can all appreciate that Jerry Stackhouse isn’t just reciting platitudes about his team being the best and having blind confidence in their abilities, when they are just the Atlanta Hawks. Sure, his teammates probably won’t appreciate him picking anyone but them to win the title, but it’s also just as likely that they never check This isn’t the right thing to say in a team context, but I personally enjoy this honest assessment.

Of course Jerry Stackhouse wants to be in the Finals. He just knows he’s not going to be — he plays for the Hawks. Age gives perspective. And since Jerry is nearly 58 years old, he’s got more than enough of that to go around.

(via I Am a GM)