Utah Jazz: Hall of Famer John Stockton dishes out quips, candid remarks in Q-and-A
Stockton: My brother (Steve Stockton). My brother thundered me in everything most of my life. He was a great carrot out in front of me. All I wanted to do ever was beat him at anything. I don’t want to leave that out. One of the guys basketball-wise was Coach Pickett, who helped me write the book. He caught me at a very impressionable time, taught me the fundamentals. He gave me the foundation it took to build on it so that my love for the game could expand because I could build on something. If you’re just out there running around, you can’t really improve. He came in at a great time in my life, especially as far as basketball goes.
Q: What does the support from the Utah community mean to you?
Stockton: This has been home for me. One of the hardest things I ever did was move myself and my family back home (to Spokane, Wash.). What’s home? For me, it was my mom and dad were there. My brothers and sisters, the community I grew up (in), was there. But this is also home. That was tough because it’s very difficult to balance them. Probably my parents being there (was) the turning point for us. I don’t know if you can put words into my feelings for this community. It’s a beautiful city. That hasn’t changed. (Utah) welcomed me with opened arms. I still feel very much at home here as I do with the Jazz and here in this building (the former Delta Center). This was a special time in my life. It still is. I feel very connected still.
Q: Your son, Michael, has had opportunities with Utah (working out, playing summer league). What was that like to see him wearing the Jazz jersey?
Stockton: It was very neat to see Michael wearing the Jazz gear and practicing — even more so to see the pride in which he held doing it. You don’t know the impact this team has had on my children. That was a great thrill for him, for me, for us. It was neat.
Q: Do you see yourself having more involvement with the Jazz organization in a formal capacity going forward?
Stockton: I haven’t ruled anything out, but I’m enjoying what I’m doing. I have a 12-year-old son, Samuel, who I’m coaching in the seventh grade, and I’m having a blast at it. There's so much of that still ahead of me. My daughter’s in high school, Laura, and I’m enjoying coaching with her. My kids that are older than her are playing. My daughter Lindsay is playing at Montana state. David is playing at Gonzaga. My son Michael, who you mentioned, is in Germany playing. I don’t want to change. I'm enjoying that. I'm enjoying getting to see them play, and then it’s not always easy, but it would be impossible if I had a job like coaching. So, fortunately, I’m coaching at a level where I have a little flexibility in my schedule.
Q: What do you think about the state of the current NBA and the point guard position?
Stockton: It’s changed a lot. Almost every point guard you see out there now is a scorer. Not that the other guys weren’t, but there’s so many different ways to play the position. The NBA has always gone through patterns, if you will. I remember when I first came in everybody was looking for the Magic Johnson clone. They couldn’t find many 6-10 guys that could play the point. If they could, then all of us little guys would’ve been out. And like Isiah (Thomas), guys like him really succeeded, and they said, "Hey, maybe we can succeed with little guys." I think it goes through ebbs and flows. Coaches are so clever, they’re figuring out a way to combat now what the Heat are doing and how are you going to guard these guys? What’s the direction of it? I think it's always in flux and probably always will be in trying to figure out that secret formula that wins the title.
Q: You wrote about the undercurrent on the team in your last season. How much does that tarnish your career?
Stockton: It doesn’t tarnish it all. I think the whole purpose of that point in the story was not even the undercurrent. It was to show how I handled it and how I handled a lot of things in that last year. There were signs. I don’t know if any of you have retired or have come close or have thought about it, but for me it was, "Why didn’t I do something? What didn’t I pay attention (to)? Why wasn’t I looking?" All these indicators that it might be time for me to look for a new profession, so to speak. I took that very internal on what I needed to do rather than what was going on there. I couldn’t say that without expressing what led up to it.
Q: Many fans wanted you to score more. Any regrets about not shooting more?
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