“It always gave me a good feeling,” he said. “It kind of told me a story, reminding me of what we were doing at those times.”
As he got older, he said, his appetite for film — and for the tools of the trade — grew into what he described as an “infatuation.” When he started drawing N.B.A. paychecks in 1995, he could finally afford his first camcorder. He has since cycled through more than 40 of them. His wife, Ramirra, is a very understanding woman, he said.
“It’s some type of addiction, man, when you just want the next best picture,” he said. “You see the colors and the clarity. It’s all about the blacks. It’s all about the brilliant colors.”
In that moment, as Stackhouse pounded his kitchen table to emphasize the importance of pixels and image quality, it was difficult to imagine anyone who had ever been more enthusiastic about anything. He offered a tour of his latest batch of cameras, which he had arranged like fine sculptures in his living room.
There was the Sony Fs5, a camcorder that Sanders used to film sideline footage. There was the Sony a7, a small hand-held that Sanders called “our little baby.” And finally, there was the Sony PMW-F55, a top-of-the-line camera that retails for the price of a midsize sedan. Stackhouse said he had taken a four-day tutorial at Sony Picture Studios outside Los Angeles to learn how to use it.
Camera stores love to see Stackhouse coming. He listed a few of his favorites: Showcase Video in Atlanta, Woodward Camera outside Detroit, B & H Photo Video in New York, Vistek in Toronto. One grateful proprietor put Stackhouse’s picture on a wall. He does not know how much he has spent on camera equipment because he does not want to know.
“My accountant has it,” he said. “I’m afraid to look.”
On rare occasions, Stackhouse produces actual films that he shares with others, like the time he made a highlight video for the players on his son Jaye’s middle-school team.
Stackhouse made a bigger splash when he was playing for the Dallas Mavericks during the 2005-06 season and showed up for a team meeting with a camcorder. Avery Johnson, then the team’s coach, was caught by surprise. “What are you doing?” Johnson asked him. “What’s this for? Some kind of documentary?”
The short answer: Yes. Stackhouse soon reached out to Fraser, a young filmmaker whom he had met at a camera store in Silver Spring, Md.
“He was like, ‘Hey, I got permission from the organization to film the season,’” Fraser said in a telephone interview. “And I was like, ‘Yo, let’s make it into a movie!’”
The resulting 42-minute documentary, “Against All Odds,” detailed how Stackhouse came back from an early-season knee injury to help the Mavericks advance to the N.B.A. finals.
Fraser, who hired Sanders as one of his camera operators, said he had been struck by Stackhouse’s commitment. Stackhouse rented three condos that season: two for postproduction editing and one that he turned into a music studio. (Stackhouse briefly dabbled as an R&B recording artist.)
“He created this whole environment for his art,” Fraser said. “I remember he had all these cameras that were just hitting the market, and I’m having this conversation with him about this technology, and he’s like, ‘Look, man, the whole game is changing.’ I went to film school, and Stack is educating me on the future of cameras.”
In the years before his playing career ended in 2013, Stackhouse continued to record pieces of his life in a more understated way. No film crews. No postproduction condos. Just the trusty collection of cameras he liked to use behind the scenes: at the gym, children’s sporting events, family functions.
“I think documenting his journey is a way for him to confirm just how far he has come,” Mark Cuban, the owner of the Mavericks, said in an email.
With Raptors 905 this past season, Stackhouse went all out. As soon as the players arrived for training camp, the cameras were rolling. Sanders and Steven Zhong, who also filmed portions of the season at Stackhouse’s behest, became a part of the team’s fabric. Will Sheehey, a forward, recalled road trips when he would wake up from a nap on the team bus to find a camera in his face.
“It got to a point where it became a little bit of a joke because everyone knew Angelo and Steve,” Sheehey said, “but they were never formally introduced as far as their roles with the team.”
As a college player at Indiana, Sheehey grew accustomed to having cameras around. Stackhouse, he said, took the exercise to another level.
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