I think it made him really excited about the NBA again and being around the playoffs. —David Stockton said of his father, John
SALT LAKE CITY — Even during the playoffs, fans often use the final minutes of a blowout game to get a head start out of Vivint Arena to beat the traffic.
But during the final two months of the season, contests that have well been decided gave a reason for fans to stick around, and even provided some of their loudest cheering. That’s because on these rare occasions, it meant that point guard David Stockton was likely going to get some playing time.
The son of Jazz Hall of Famer John Stockton, David Stockton first signed a 10-day contract with Utah on March 17 as the Jazz became a bit shorthanded due to injuries. He wound up sticking with the franchise through the remainder of the season, and played 14 total minutes (all late in the fourth quarter of games), scoring, perhaps appropriately given his father’s number that hangs from the rafters at Vivint Arena, 12 points.
Eight of Stockton’s minutes came at home over three games, and each time he checked in, he was greeted with thunderous applause.
“It was really cool,” he said during exit interviews after the Jazz were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the Houston Rockets. “You know, people stayed at the end of games to see if I was going to get in. The crowd was as loud as ever during those times, so it was a really exciting moment for me, and I’m sure it was for the rest of my family.”
Born in 1991, David Stockton became familiar as a youngster with the crowds at Utah’s home arena, which built a reputation as one of the toughest places to play in the NBA, especially during the Finals runs of 1997 and 1998.
Perhaps it was fitting, then, that exactly 20 years after the Jazz’s last trip to the Finals and exactly 15 years after he retired, John Stockton, who hasn’t ventured to Utah a whole lot in the time since, became a fixture at the arena to see his son.
Furthermore, David Stockton’s presence on the Jazz’s roster came during a season many fans have noted was their favorite since the Finals years.
“I think it made him really excited about the NBA again and being around the playoffs,” David Stockton said of his father.
While there was the impossible-to-ignore family connection that came with him being on Utah’s roster, David Stockton tried to remain focused on doing his job, even if he knew he wasn’t going to see a whole lot of playing time.
“In the sparing minutes that you’re going to get in my position, you’ve got to be able to show something, do something, but also every day showing up and working hard and being just a great guy for the program is another thing you can show,” he said.
Having played both overseas and in the NBA G-League before joining the Jazz, the 5-foot-11, 165-pound Stockton is a free agent again and doesn’t know where his career will take him next, although he feels satisfied that he maximized his time in Utah as best he could.
“I think I took all the opportunities and actually played pretty well,” he said, “and we’ll see what happens.”