Doug Robinson: John Stockton did his own thing — and pulled it off

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  • Dj
    Feb. 2, 2010 1:44 p.m.

    I played jr jazz as a kid ( little leauge basketball) and evey year they had a player appearance. Usually some bench warmer but this one particular year it was Stockton him self. To make a long story short he chose 3 kids from the stands to do dribbling drills with him and I just so happened to be one of those kids. He was my hero before that and still is to this day. I wish I could find someone who was there that day with a video camera so that I can relive that wonderfully experiance.

  • re: Steve
    Sept. 10, 2009 9:30 p.m.

    Malone only played one more season, and as the 3rd or 4th option behind Kobe and Shaq. He went to a high caliber team in hopes of a ring and the Lakers probably would have won it had Malone not gotten injured. I hate the Lakers about as much as any Jazz fan but that was the only year I semi-rooted for them. Yeah Stockton improved Malone as a player, but don't discount the fact that Malone improved Stockton too.

  • Mississippi Jazz Fan
    Sept. 10, 2009 11:59 a.m.

    Stockton was sort of an enigma. He did not want to be in the spotlight and it always made me want to know more about his personal life. He was such an intense character. His passion for the game and hard work was telling. Sloan probably holds many of his new players to the standard of work ethic of Stockton and Malone. Those two never missed games for anything. The one time Stockton got injured, he sat out a few games and then waited till the season was over to get surgery. I miss the work ethic of Stockton and Malone, but am excited about some of the talent the Jazz have now. D-Will is my new main man.

  • Steve
    Sept. 10, 2009 10:09 a.m.

    Malone would have been nothing without Stockton. Proof? Just look at his career after leaving the Jazz.

  • Barbara
    Sept. 10, 2009 9:46 a.m.

    Quite the gamut of commentaries here. Betcha John never bothers to read any of it and so what? I don't know why I even wrote that.

  • Rich
    Sept. 10, 2009 9:28 a.m.

    Stockton is my second favorite player behind Larry Bird. Third would be LeBron James, but his stock dropped substantially after his team was eliminated this spring and he refused to shake hands and then bolted the arena.
    Last night I watched an ESPN Classic game in which Stockton broke the record for steals. I realized how much I miss him. It was also easy to see why all the big guys had such high shooting percentages for the Jazz. Stockton set them up time after time in that game -- Foster was the high scorer in the first half solely because of Stockton's pinpoint passes. Arguably the best point guard ever to play the game. The only point guard who could surpass him was Magic Johnson, but he was 6'9".

  • John Dilliard P.Ouano
    Sept. 10, 2009 4:03 a.m.

    His game is simple and effective.
    I watched him and the Jazz since I was young.
    I wish I could play the game like John Stockton.
    The pick and roll was perfect. "Stockton to Malone" I will miss those words from the commentators. How many times they have said that in a game.

    The humbliest and the best point guard I have seen in the NBA.

    Hope the next generation of NBA players could learn from him.

  • jbra80
    Sept. 9, 2009 10:38 p.m.

    Stockton is the model for what a PG should be. In my book he is #2 all-time behind Jordan, although i'm quite biased as a lifelong Jazz fan. They just don't make players like that anymore. Forget about his ability to make a pass anywhere on the court at anytime with either hand, what impressed me the most were his picks. How many PG's today could be as durable as Stockton while setting picks on opposing PF's and C's? And how many could keep their cool while being shoved to the ground while doing so? What bothers me the most is seeing Steve Nash win MVP's when Stockton was barely, if at all, mentioned during his career. Not that i'm against Nash, but Stockton did it better and still played tough D. I guess he just wasn't flashy enough.

    The man is a legend and is the best PG ever to play the game.

  • re: a.r. Colvin
    Sept. 9, 2009 10:12 p.m.

    Glad you are a fan. The Delta Center opened in 1992 if I recall correctly and Stock was drafted in 1984...

  • re: a.r. Colvin
    Sept. 9, 2009 10:10 p.m.

    Glad you are a fan. Surprised you clearly remember being in a then-nonexistent building when Stock was drafted...

  • weedeater
    Sept. 9, 2009 10:01 p.m.

    Stock always seemed driven and unhappy. Media people try to make him sound like a rugged individualist I think to try and make sense of his stingy and unhappy attitude.

    As far as basketball he was great!

  • very rare
    Sept. 9, 2009 9:41 p.m.

    he is a player to admire..he is very rare.. the Jazz are bless having him

  • One For The Ages
    Sept. 9, 2009 8:43 p.m.

    The basketball gods broke the mold when they made John Stockton...short hair, no tattoos, shorts that didn't look sloppy and, MOST important of all, a FEROCIOUS desire to win that made him probably the greatest guard of all time.

    Say what you will about his choice of how he handled autograph seekers, but the guy was INCREDIBLE on the court.

    The only indecent thing he ever suffered as a player was not getting the NBA World Champion ring he so rightly deserved.

    Still miss ya', John....

  • royston
    Sept. 9, 2009 8:40 p.m.

    john stockton was the greatest point guard of all time! the greatest of Basketball. he was so reserved. he was fierce yet simply had a smooth flowing style, he simply got game...the most intelligent player of basketball. i'm also a point guard...i idolized john stockton, not because we shared the same moves...honestly we didn't. stockton's move is so simple yet hard to contain. even harder to beat.

  • Dave
    Sept. 9, 2009 7:56 p.m.

    Congrats Stock! You were one of the best on and off the court and my all-time favorite player!

  • Father of jazz kids
    Sept. 9, 2009 6:16 p.m.

    Since I have 6 kids that always loved watching him he became a role model to my kids, until one day at the valley fair mall we stood in line for 3 hours to get his signature and then he got up and left and no one told us or everyone else in line. We waited another hour and left.We wont wait for any ball players any more, and they are not role models to my kids any more.He was great and is great but lacked common sense to his fans.

  • Stockton
    Sept. 9, 2009 6:14 p.m.

    Was definitely one of a kind. I miss watching him play and the person I feel sorry for the most not winning an NBA title. If anyone was deserving, it was John Stockton.

  • a.r. colvin
    Sept. 9, 2009 6:06 p.m.

    I clearly remember sitting in the Delta Center during the NBA draft when Stockton was picked by the Jazz. There were people there who were very mad and some booing + yelling "who the hell is he". It did not take them long to know who he was.

    I don’t believe that there are today or ever have been any guards that are/were better than him.

    I don't know if this is true but I have heard that in an interview it was asked of Majic Johnson, [when they were still playing.] - If you were going to start a NBA team who would be one of the first players that you would pick. His answer was - my point guard would definitely be John Stockton, he could always get me the ball anytime that I was ready for it and you can always count on him.

    I have my DVR set so that I won't miss any of the ceremony.

  • DennyG
    Sept. 9, 2009 6:05 p.m.

    During most of the Stockton/Malone era I worked in the media market of Salt Lake.
    Working with either of these two men was similar to a root canal.
    I don't miss either of them. I don't need celebrities, I like decent people. John was much better than Karl. And I didn't like John.

  • Just a fan
    Sept. 9, 2009 5:38 p.m.

    John is my favorite B-ball player of all time. With over 50 years of watching the game I can truly profess that there was never another like him and there never will be.

    If he was running for president, I would vote for him. He's one of the only people I've ever known of whose actions spoke as highly of themselves as their words.

    WE miss you John!!

  • re: die hard
    Sept. 9, 2009 4:43 p.m.

    Perhaps his choice not to come out of the dugout comes from the desire to remain as a private person. Disagree with his decision, but it was his decision to make.

    It is only bush league if you refuse to come out because you are a sore loser and it is a reflection of poor sportsmanship. If you sensed that the reason for staying in the dugout was because he was upset for losing, then maybe....

    What is bush league? Probably feeling the need to tear him down on the week he is to be honored.

  • die hard
    Sept. 9, 2009 4:11 p.m.

    Now some REALITY, John wasn't so lilly white as you all think. I coached against him and one of his sons in a baseball game. We beat them and after the game when all the players and coaches come out on the field and shake hands he wouldn't come out of the dug out. I thought that was a little bush league.
    As Far As A Basketball player though he was and is the best point guard to ever put on a pair of gym shoes PERIOD!!! And yes I watched every game he played.
    For the person who wrote that Karl Malone was the best Jazz player ever?
    Are you kidding me?
    He only hit the winning shot in 11 games in his career. And we all know who the ball went to in ever close game at the end of the game.
    Karl would be just another power foward who would be forgotten by now if it wern't for John Stockton and Jerry's system PERIOD!!!!!

  • Bill from South Dakota
    Sept. 9, 2009 2:51 p.m.

    Great article about a great basketball player and a great man.

  • Annie
    Sept. 9, 2009 2:35 p.m.

    I've never been a sports fan, but somehow became a rabid Jazz fan. I know this will seem silly, but I was sitting in my office with sports talk radio on the day Stockton quietly stated that he was "hanging up his sneakers" or something like that. I got teary immediately. My colleague walked in right then and said "Oh Annie! What's wrong?" I could only whimper that Stockon was retiring. Couldn't even talk about it for three days withing tearing up. Silly, I know. But there it is. Nobody like him since....DWill lookin' good, however.

  • jazzfanfromhouston
    Sept. 9, 2009 2:19 p.m.

    I grew up in utah, i watched the jazz all the time. When i moved to Houston, i stopped watching basketball namely because i was in houston, and stockton was retiring.

    Living in houston wi had the honor of wathing two other pro athletes in the waning days of their careers who lived up to similar standards as Stockton. Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, most utahns don't get a lot od exposure to MLB, but those two baseball players along with John Stockton are the kind of athletes all kids should aspire to want to be like

    Sept. 9, 2009 2:09 p.m.

    John Stockton was, and still is my favorite player to watch. He was such a smart player, and always gave 100% while he played. What's even better is he gives 100% to his family and anything else he's involved in.
    I can also understand where John is coming from with reactions to fans. Some fans are stupid, and don't understand that athletes are people. They get annoyed and bothered constantly so I have no qualms with players ignoring stupid fans. Anybody who gets a chance to meet John Stockton in a normal setting would appreciate who he is! He just loved to play basketball.

  • Rob
    Sept. 9, 2009 2:08 p.m.

    John come back!!
    You can still play - PLEASE!

  • Wasatchpowder
    Sept. 9, 2009 1:58 p.m.

    Let's see what Stockton taught his kids and us.
    Hide from the media and fans.
    Don't acknowledge the fans during a game.
    Don't sign autographs.
    Don't stand up for yourself and negotiate contracts, let the other guy write the terms.
    Run back to Spokane as fast as you can and never come back to Salt Lake.

  • JakeC
    Sept. 9, 2009 1:44 p.m.

    I think he is the ebst so much so I am sitting here in Springfield MA after travelling from Australia to See Stockton inducted once in a lifetime opportunity which I cannot wait for!

    Congrats John!!!

  • Dan Hillyard
    Sept. 9, 2009 1:03 p.m.

    Great article. Post media events are a chance for retired athletes to gravy train the celeb. meal ticket and get some face time in the media. Not Stockton, several years ago when the Jazz had a retirement ceremony for Malone I watched Stockton sitting in a gym by himself (no "crew")in Spokane watching his son shooting free-throws in an AAU skills competition. I always thought it was pretty cool that he had his family priorities in place

  • Pete
    Sept. 9, 2009 12:56 p.m.

    I ask my 6 year old son, who has never seen John Stockton play, but has pictures of him in his room who the best basketball player is. His answer is sometimes "daddy", but mostly it's John Stockton. Does anybody remember the "Basketball John Stockton" song that was made when the Jazz went to the finals for the first time. That is one of his favorites. Great song.

  • Tami
    Sept. 9, 2009 12:37 p.m.

    My only regret is that they did not send Karl in with John. How could they seperate these team members?
    Who is the "loser" presenting John?

  • Wyoming Fan
    Sept. 9, 2009 12:33 p.m.

    Stockton was one of the greats. It's too bad he didn't get a ring. We loved watching him.

  • Both Ways
    Sept. 9, 2009 12:12 p.m.

    I loved Stock as a player, but have to disagree with Anonymous | 6:59 a.m. Sept. 9, 2009 .

    "His job did not require him to put himself out there to satisfy your for celebrity."

    Somehow guys like Hornacek and Malone could show their appreciation for who allowed them to make the money the made and have the life they had. I can appreciate not wanted to be bugged when you're with your family, but you can't say 'hi' on the street to a passing fan? That's as much a part of your job as playing the game the right way. If you're that uptight about being out on Main Street, then you should have had a 'posse' to protect you. Between that and picking Isaiah "never a role model to my kids in a bazillion years" Thomas as his presenter, I have serious problems trying to reconcile the public love for John with who he really might be. Not who you think he is or want to believe he is.

    Celebrity isn't real. And it doesn't necessarily jibe with anything else.

  • Vince Eccles
    Sept. 9, 2009 12:11 p.m.

    Excellent career, John.

    Excellent article, Doug.

  • Anoymous@
    Sept. 9, 2009 12:07 p.m.

    I almost stopped watching the Jazz games after John Stockton retired. It just wasn't the same afterward. But I couldn't stay away. I can't say I liked the team after Stockton and Malone but I like what the team has become today. Deron Williams spent a week with John Stockton playing BB and learning and that's good.
    Now I'm glad to see John Stockton inducted into the Hall of Fame. He deserved it more than anyone else in my opinion. And to be inducted with his coach Jerry Sloan has to be right up there with the very best moment.

  • Basketball John!
    Sept. 9, 2009 11:41 a.m.

    Basketball John! I love the Basketball John! Basketball John, John Stockton, o ooo oooooooooooo! I never have forgotten that song. Congrats on the HOF, Mr. Stockton!

  • Gary o
    Sept. 9, 2009 11:39 a.m.

    I loved watching John Stockton play. He did so with skill and class. I never saw him get in anyone's face or rub in his success (and his many steals and assists attest to those successes). He played the game as if he loved it and would have played even if he were not being paid. My only regret is that he never won that NBA championship that he deserved.

  • Yeah John
    Sept. 9, 2009 11:32 a.m.

    I haven't watched much of the Jazz since Stockton is gone. He was such a great example, I haven't found another like him on the team. He is raising six children, that says a lot about this good husband and father!

  • Rumor
    Sept. 9, 2009 11:30 a.m.

    If I remember correctly, John didn't have an agent (except maybe his dad). He would not negotiate his contract, but would leave the contract terms upto Mr. Miller. I think John would say something like: 'If you want me to return, please make a contract for me to sign'; then John would go to Spokane for a month before he would return to sign the new contract. Please verify if these rumored details are somewhat accurate.

  • Anonymous
    Sept. 9, 2009 11:26 a.m.

    I have to admit that I have a very warm, nostalgic feeling after reading this article. What a guy.

  • Thankful
    Sept. 9, 2009 10:17 a.m.

    What a great example for all of us to learn from. If there was more people in the world that simply played because they love the game, sports in general, would be much better off. Hopefully all of the young kids and crazy dad's can learn from a great example we find in John Stockton.

  • Fred Gorzon
    Sept. 9, 2009 10:15 a.m.

    as this article alludes to John Stockton was a little strange about his personal life and beliefs. Now he has chosen one of lifes biggest losers to present him at the hall of fame it indicates more about the man than I care to know. John here was your last chance to keep your fame and you blew it.

  • Bones
    Sept. 9, 2009 9:56 a.m.

    I agree with Anonymous @ 9:01. Just because there aren't really many NBA stars with that same clean-cut shy image doesnt mean that none of them are moral people or even good role models.

    Stockton was amazing and is one of my favorite athletes ever to play any sport professionally. But, the NBA has plenty of great role models, Just look at Deron Williams right here in Utah. Obviously there are some idiot punk head cases, but believe it or not having several visible tatoos doesn't make someone one of those morons.

  • Joe Morris
    Sept. 9, 2009 9:39 a.m.

    I miss John Stockton. The game of Basketball was never the same when he left. There are very few who can play the game now and play it because its what they love to do, and not for how much they can make from it.

  • Anonymous
    Sept. 9, 2009 9:37 a.m.

    Congratulations to John Stockton, but why did the desnews put in a picture of him getting a shot blocked?

  • spiritree
    Sept. 9, 2009 9:34 a.m.

    My 85 year old mom learned to love the Jazz watching Mr. Stockton play with heart and without showboating every time he completed a pass or dropped in a three from the top of the key. How we miss him.

  • I think....
    Sept. 9, 2009 9:15 a.m.

    The speech has just been written that should be given at the induction ceremony. Absolutely great article. Pin points Stockton to a T. He is and will always be the best!!

  • Big hands
    Sept. 9, 2009 9:12 a.m.

    One quirky thing I'll always remember about this obscure guard drafted out of Gonzaga....the first time I saw him play, I was amazed at the size of his hands. 6'1" guys aren't supposed to palm the ball directly off a dribble, but he could with ease. Probably helped him deliver all those pinpoint passes...

  • Anonymous
    Sept. 9, 2009 9:01 a.m.

    Karl Malone was the best Jazz Man Ever.
    Stockton second. He is well deserving of the Hall of Fame.

    Anyway, for those who say that there are not anymore basketball players with Stockton Values are absurd.

    He was the last literate moral person in the entire league,
    it is unusual to find a clean decent player nowadays that simply loves the game.

    There are multiple all stars that are great examples.

    Dwight Howard

  • Robinson, you are wrong
    Sept. 9, 2009 8:45 a.m.

    I watched several interviews after a Jazz game. Stockton sat on a chair holding one of his children and was friendly, willing to talk and open to the questions. Where were you when these interviews took place. Didn't watch a lot of Jazs games but I saw several of these interviews. Did you need material for an article. You did him a disservice. I do agree with you on what thing. He was a class act.

  • Dan
    Sept. 9, 2009 8:42 a.m.

    I always enjoyed watching Stockton play. He knew how to watch everyone and get the ball to the right person and when he couldn't find anyone, which was rare, he would shoot and make it.
    Thank you also John for your personal commitment and example of making your family a priority.

    Thanks for the memories.

  • What a great read!
    Sept. 9, 2009 8:37 a.m.

    This article was superbly written. I gained an understanding of a childhood event that has always rubbed me the wrong way. I was at a Jazz/Lakers game. A family acquaintance led me down to the floor long before the game to introduce me to a few players. John Stockton wouldn't give me an autograph. Neither would Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Magic Johnson not only gave me a signature, he sat me down on his lap and talked to me with his big smile and encouraged me to always try my best at whatever I did in life. I've never forgotten Magic's kindness to me and I always sort of resented John Stockton. This article helped me understand Stock's point of view and the reason behind his behavior.

  • Mike
    Sept. 9, 2009 8:31 a.m.

    I was refereeing a Jr. Jazz game at the Dimple Dell rec center several years ago. Hornacek was the coach and Stockton was there watching his son play. Stockton just sat in a chair and watched the game. He didn't really say a thing. Hornacek on the other hand nearly got himself a "T". I liked them both.

    Contrast that to a little league football game a couple of years before that I was reffing. Stockton was on the sidelines behind the rope yelling at the officials. Not realizing who he was, I turned around and told him to shut up (I'd have told him to shut up anyway). He did, and the rest of the game was pleasant. We had a nice time talking on the sidelines about the game in between plays.

  • mickysfrnd
    Sept. 9, 2009 8:26 a.m.

    Those were the days. John Stockton. Amazing man.

  • #1JazzFannInFlorida
    Sept. 9, 2009 8:22 a.m.

    I remember a game in Stockton's 2nd year at the Salt Palace. My BDay and his are 2 days apart and I bought him a BDay card. I gave it to him after the game as he ran back to the locker room. I waited to get a few autographs (I really wanted AD's). Stockton came out and went to a group that it looked like he was going to hang out with. He looked my way and excused himself, came over to me, shook my hand, thanked me for the card, and signed my Jazz banner. #1 point guard in my book. I got Dantley's autograph too, but that is another story.

  • Steven
    Sept. 9, 2009 7:57 a.m.

    Stockton is my favorite player of all time everyone asks me who is my favorite Jazz/NBA player to date and I always say Stockton to which they reply come on he doesn't play anymore.
    I met Stockton twice and he is a very nice guy what a nice article about him.

  • Oklahoma Jazz Fan
    Sept. 9, 2009 7:54 a.m.

    This is one of the best news articles I've ever read. Thanks Doug.

  • Nancy from Las Vegas
    Sept. 9, 2009 7:21 a.m.

    From the few TV Jazz games I saw, I converted into a basketball fan late in his career and I didn’t have cable TV, I loved watching John Stockton! I wish that he gave more information about his personal life; however, I respect his need for privacy. John, you were terrific!! Thanks for making the Jazz great. Have a wonderful rest of your life!

  • kuluvar
    Sept. 9, 2009 7:19 a.m.

    I never watched another NBA game after he retired. He was the last literate, moral person in the entire league. The rest simply contribute to the decline in society.

  • fossil
    Sept. 9, 2009 7:16 a.m.

    too bad he threw the ball to malone with twenty seconds left in game six of the championship as jordan stole the ball and they won, the jazz missed a chance to win the championship. i wonder if it bugs him from time to time.

  • Utahn in Mexico
    Sept. 9, 2009 7:14 a.m.

    Ditto to Utahn in Virginia.
    He was, and will be, the best Jazzman ever.
    "Stockton to Malone"-- How I miss those words.

  • IdahoJazzFan
    Sept. 9, 2009 7:08 a.m.

    All of my children grew up with John Stockton posters in their bedrooms. I could not have chose a better role model for them. Thanks John for all of the memories and good luck in the future!

  • Utahn in Inidiana
    Sept. 9, 2009 7:04 a.m.

    I miss John. There was nothing like watching him play. A perfect role model. Unusual to find a clean decent player nowadays that simply loves the game, not all the hip around it.

  • Anonymous
    Sept. 9, 2009 6:59 a.m.

    Poor DennyG. Sorry, but Stockton did his job. His job did not require him to put himself out there to satisfy your for celebrity.

  • Bryant
    Sept. 9, 2009 6:52 a.m.

    John Stockton is my favorite player of all time. He represents everything in a public icon that I wish I could be if I ever fell into the same light: humility, dignity, dedication to the game and not the media, and always putting his family first. He was a class act that will probably never be duplicated again. Thank you for Mr. Stockton for the great example you set. You will always be welcome in Utah as long as you live.

  • DennyG
    Sept. 9, 2009 6:23 a.m.

    I have not missed him a bit. Too grumpy for my liking.

  • Role Model
    Sept. 9, 2009 5:53 a.m.

    If ever there waas a sports individual that you could hold up to be a role model it wouild be John Stackton. He is by far my favorite all-time player from any sport. He is more than a player but more of a person you would want to have as friend.

  • Utahn in Virginia
    Sept. 9, 2009 4:52 a.m.

    John Stockton was, and forever will be, the greatest Jazz player of all time, and the greatest point guard in the history of the game. Simply put, John Stockton was what made the Jazz, and the NBA game, worth watching for 19 years. The quality of the game, and the people in it, has decreased steadily since John retired. John, thank you for providing the greatest basketball effort I ever witnessed. When I played ball in my driveway, I always pretended to be you.

  • THEeyepatch
    Sept. 9, 2009 2:04 a.m.

    A true professional, he is missed. They said that about the Hydrogen Bomb Spencer Clark, not a good choice of words.

  • Anonymous
    Sept. 9, 2009 1:37 a.m.

    Stockton's the man!!!

  • Spencer Clark
    Sept. 8, 2009 11:29 p.m.

    I say we clone him. Even if against his will. It's for the greater good.

  • Vickey LeFevre
    Sept. 8, 2009 11:10 p.m.

    And how we miss him! He was so great to watch and he made all the other players better than they were without him.