Utah Jazz: Hall of Famer John Stockton dishes out quips, candid remarks in Q-and-A
Stockton: I like to think I would've responded well. However, I never had to. Maybe one of my most recurring thoughts is how thankful I am to that group that came before me with Rickey and Thurl (Bailey) and Adrian (Dantley) and John Drew, all these guys that changed the culture of the Utah Jazz from, I don’t want to say cellar dwellers, but certainly not a threat to a winning organization. I think it's the hardest thing in sports. In fact, I think it’s so hard people are jumping ship and getting themselves traded or free agented everywhere to change that environment rather than battle through it. They battled through it here. I give a lot of that credit to Frank Layden. He found a way to reach these guys and get them to play as a team and then the collective talents they brought in. I have great respect to that group that came before us.
Now, to answer your question, they have an opportunity here. They’re not a team that I think people have great expectations for and yet they’re young; they’re talented; they have an opportunity to be special — and not win championship special, maybe not yet, but change that culture, because right now it’s tough, and it’s tough to be young guys in here.
Q: Hornacek said his wife gave him your book, and he joked that he wants to see you sign autographs for fans. Has this book process re-opened doors with former teammates? Have any reached out or razzed you?
Stockton: No razzing yet. I’ve received a couple of phone calls. Karl (Malone)’s foreword was tremendous. My kids wanted to call the foreword, "The Power Foreword," by the way. I thought that was kind of catchy. But I get a call, mostly texts now, "Hey, I liked it. Let’s talk about it sometime." It’s been pretty wild for the last couple of weeks.
Q: Did you have to edit the foreword by Karl Malone?
Stockton: I had nothing to do with the foreword other than ask if he'd be willing to do it. I was surprised by his enthusiasm towards it, and then he did it. He handed it in to Coach Pickett. I don’t know if they went through the same process I did or not, but they’re the ones that got it done. It was pretty nice to hear.
Q: Did you get everything out that you wanted to in the book, or will there be more books?
Stockton: I don’t think there will be a sequel or a tri(logy). You guys are already razzing me about telling everything. There’s still more stuff rattling around in my head, but I don’t know if I’ll go this route again.
Q: What did Frank Layden do to help bring you along and shape your career?
Stockton: I don’t know if you can cover that. Every time I speak to Frank Layden, even today, wisdom just kind of oozes out everywhere. It was very important to him that he makes his players better people when they were done with them. That’s the type of care that he had for his players. I remember many conversations I had with him before we even started bounding the balls in training camp my rookie season that impacted the rest of my life. That’s just the type of man he is. I think that helps you. It gives you confidence. It gives you (comfort knowing) he’s on my side and you're able to go out there and just compete instead of worry all the time.
Q: Can you talk about Jerry Sloan and how he impacted your career?
Stockton: You can’t put into words his impact on my life and career — coach, friend, mentor, boss. He's really worn a lot of hats for me personally. I admire him so much I can’t even express it.
Q: What did you think about how Sloan tried to extend your playing career by restricting your minutes?
Stockton: That was one of the things we fought about. I didn’t want to play forever. I wanted to try to win this whole thing and then go off into the sunset, so to speak. He felt like he had a duty to the organization to preserve us and have us around for a longer time. He felt like then you bring a mesh of young guys in and you're viable for longer. We argued about it, but he won. I would’ve probably gone a different route.
Q: Outside of Utah, who were some people who influenced you early on?
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