Early yearsStockton was born March 26, 1962 in Spokane, Washington to Clementine Frei and Jack Stockton and had Irish and Swiss German ancestry. He attended grade school at St. Aloysius and moved on to high school at Gonzaga Prep, graduating in 1980. He then played college basketball for Gonzaga University in his hometown where he averaged 20.9 points per game while shooting 57% from the field in his senior year. His grandfather, Houston Stockton had also been a well known athlete at Gonzaga. John Stockton was selected by the Utah Jazz with the 16th overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft.
NBA careerJohn Stockton averaged a career double-double, with 13.1 points and 10.5 assists per game. He holds the NBA's record for most career assists (15,806) by a margin of more than 4,000, as well as the record for most career steals (3,265). 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 consecutive games 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, known as Dream Team I and III, 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 9 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.
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. 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 "short shorts" (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); his simple dress off the court, which contrasted with many of his NBA contemporaries; and his reserved demeanor.
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.
Along with Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, Dominique Wilkins, Elgin Baylor, Reggie Miller, Pete Maravich, and his teammate Karl Malone, John Stockton is considered to be one of the best players never to have won an NBA championship.
Player profileStockton, a 10-time NBA All-Star, commandingly holds the NBA record for career assists with 15,806 (10.5 per game). Stockton also holds the record for assists-per-game average over one season (14.5 in 1990), and is one of three players who have logged more than 1,000 assists in one season, joining Kevin Porter (1,099 in 1979) and Isiah Thomas (1,123 in 1985) in the exclusive list. Stockton did this seven times, with season totals of 1,164, 1,134, 1,128, 1,126, 1,118, 1,031 and 1,011 assists.
He and Karl Malone are regarded by many as the quintessential pick and roll duo. Apart from his passing skill, Stockton was also a capable scorer (13.1 points per game career average and a .515 career shooting percentage) with a reliable three-point shot (.384 lifetime average). He is 30th on the all-time NBA scoring list with 19,711 career points. Despite the fact that he never pulled down more than 9 rebounds (or recorded more than 9 steals) during a regular season game, he recorded one career triple double, in a playoff game against the Dallas Mavericks on April 28, 2001. He scored 12 points, pulled down 11 rebounds and had 10 assists.
On defense, Stockton holds the NBA record for career steals with 3,265, nearly 30 percent more than second placed Michael Jordan, who had 2,514.
Stockton was known for his unassuming, no-nonsense approach to the game, hard-nosed defense, and fanatical work-ethic in preparation, which resulted in his extreme durability. He played 1,504 of 1,526 possible games in his 19-season career. In his first 13 seasons, he missed only four games (all in the 1989-1990 season) until he missed the first 18 games of the 1997-1998 season due to an injured MCL in his left knee sustained in the preseason. That was the only major injury in his career and he never missed another game after returning from that injury. In his last season at age 41, he started in all 82 games, and finished with more-than-respectable averages of 10.8 ppg and 7.7 apg.
Stockton avoided most endorsements, and stayed loyal to Utah despite being offered significantly more money by other teams. In 1996, he agreed to a deal that made salary-cap space available so the team could improve, but insisted on guaranteed Delta Center ice time for his son's hockey team.
On May 11, 2006, ESPN.com named Stockton the 4th best point guard of all time.
In 1,504 NBA games (an all-time record for a player who played for only one team and games with a single team), of which Stockton started 1,300 (third all-time since starts became an official statistic beginning with the 1981-82 season), Stockton averaged a double-double in points and assists along with 2.2 steals and 31:45 of floor time per game, and holds other scoring accuracy records as noted above.
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