|John Stockton in 1989 with the Utah Jazz.|
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Utah Jazz Legend John Stockton Sets NBA Record
On April 7, 1989 John Stockton is the first NBA player to have back-to-back 1,000 assist seasons.
Stockton spent his entire career with the Utah Jazz from 1984 to 2003. He is considered one of the best point guards of all-time.
Stockton holds the NBA record for most career assists with 15,806 and steals with 3,265. The next closest player to Stockton in assists is Jason Kidd with 12,072, and steals is Kidd again with 2,674.
John Stockton averaged a career double-double, with 13.1 points and 10.5 assists per game. He had five of the top six assists seasons in NBA history (the other belonging to Isiah Thomas). He holds the NBA record for the most seasons, games, and a consecutive game played with one team, and is third in total games played, behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Robert Parish. He missed only 22 games during his career, 18 of them in one season. He played in 38 games where he tallied 20 or more assists.
Stockton appeared in 10 All-Star games, and was named co-MVP of the game in 1993 with Jazz teammate Karl Malone, which was held in Salt Lake City, Utah. He played with the 1992 and 1996 US Olympic basketball teams, the first Olympic squads to feature NBA players, keeping the game ball from both gold medal games.
He was selected to the All-NBA First Team twice, the All-NBA Second Team six times, the All-NBA Third Team three times, and the NBA All-Defensive Second Team five times. He was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history in 1996.
Stockton's career highlight came in Game 6 of the 1997 Western Conference Finals. Stockton scored the last nine points for the Jazz, including a buzzer-beating 3-point shot over the Houston Rockets' Charles Barkley, to send the Jazz to the first of its two consecutive NBA Finals appearances. In both of these appearances, Stockton's Jazz teams were defeated by the Chicago Bulls.
In Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals, Stockton made a three-pointer with 41.9 seconds left to give the Jazz an 86–83 lead, but Bulls guard Michael Jordan made two field goals to put his team ahead 87–86, the second one after stealing from Jazz forward Karl Malone. Stockton missed a three-point attempt with 5.2 seconds left and said in a post-game interview that he felt confident that the shot would go in.
For many years, he and Malone were the Jazz's 1-2 punch. The two played a record 1,412 regular-season games together as teammates (by comparison, only three other NBA players besides Stockton and Malone have reached 1,412 NBA games played). Many of Stockton's assists resulted from passes to Malone. Stockton earned the "old school" tag for his physical play - surveys of athletes and fans alike often judged him among the toughest players in the NBA, usually just behind teammate Karl Malone. His uniform of "short shorts" was noteworthy as he was the most recent notable NBA player to wear them, preferring the style after the rest of the league had adopted today's baggier look. Off the court, he dressed in rather ordinary attire, which contrasted with many of his NBA contemporaries who favored flashy designer clothes. Stockton was and is known for his reserved demeanor in interviews.
On May 2, 2003, Stockton announced his retirement with a released statement instead of the customary news conference. The Jazz later held a retirement ceremony for him, in which Salt Lake City renamed the street in front of the Energy Solutions Arena (then known as the Delta Center), where the Jazz play, John Stockton Drive.
His number-12 jersey was retired by the Jazz during a game on November 22, 2004. A statue of Stockton can be seen in front of the Energy Solutions Arena; an accompanying statue of Karl Malone was placed nearby on March 23, 2006.
The Malone and Stockton statues stand on a bronze plaque commemorating their achievements together. Stockton was announced as a member of the 2009 class of inductees to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on April 6, 2009; he was formally inducted on September 11. Stockton chose 2000 inductee and fellow point guard Isiah Thomas to present him at the induction ceremony.
Along with his teammate Karl Malone, Stockton is considered one of the best players who never won an NBA championship.