Bits from John Stockton’s “Assisted” Media Blitz, Part 1
What was the most difficult part to write?
The most difficult part for me was to share these wonderful people that have contributed to my life without betraying their trust. Their stories aren’t necessarily for publication unless they want to do it, so to try to thank them and tell them the wonderful things they’ve done without blowing it and having everybody mad at me in the process. So that was a challenge.
What did you think when you heard Jason Kidd had taken the Nets head coaching job?
I kind of wondered what he was thinking. The, that’s a tough job. He’s been enjoying playing for a long time, as I did, and the thought of jumping back into the rat race at that level, is gonna be difficult for him. But I think he’ll do a great job.
Can we expect to see you on the sidelines of an NBA game?
Not real soon. I have young kids still that I don’t want to miss their games, and I know from experience you’re gonna miss ‘em if you take on that kind of task.
* So you’re saying there’s a chance???
Which former teammates do you keep in touch with the most?
Probably Karl [Malone]. Jeff Hornacek. They’re two I bump in the most. Mark Eaton’s another one. Thurl Bailey. They’re just good friends that’ll be lifelong friends.
On superteams and becoming teammates with former rivals
To get a chance to play with those guys would be fun, and would be, and is, but I liked it in the old days. I liked that guys stuck with their teams and you did build up rivalries and you tried to get better year after year after year. The si–the thought of, I think, teaming up with another Dream Team and going through that, I think it would change the challenge and, I don’t know, for me it’d be a little bit less interesting. But I hadn’t done it.
GOAT: Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant or LeBron James when all is said and done?
I’m still gonna have to stick with Michael. And not that there aren’t other contestants for that. I think there’s, that’s eliminating a lot of great players that would certainly vie for that title. But in that threesome, I just think Michael was, again, he’d give you no quarter.
He would be, he never missed games. He didn’t alter things, rules, no rules were adapted to make things better for him. He just was there every night, and I think he’s answered every challenge. And that’s with two or three years that he retired. So he’s put up some incredible statistics, some incredible achievements.
Build the perfect point guard.
Court vision: Magic Johnson. Jason Kidd.
Leadership: Isiah Thomas. Magic Johnson.
Defense: Maurice Cheeks. “A lot of times, the rookies, the new guys that are full of energy and determination.”
Shooting: Mark Price.
Reflections on photos
This, I think, was actually a Sports Illustrated picture taken right after my son Houston–that’s my son, Houston–in our first condo in Salt Lake City. And he had a way of staying balanced on my hands, and when the Sports Illustrated photographer came, he kinda took a liking to that picture.
This, I believe, was the day they put the statue up in front of the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, and asked us to pose for pictures. And Karl has an equal statue just across the way in the plaza in front of the Delta Center. And it’s a nice little community plaza there…
It’s a little bit different [having a statue there], but Larry Miller, who was the owner of the team, who’s since passed away, great man, and he insisted on certain things that I thought were great for the community, and this is one of ‘em. It represents an era that we’re all pretty proud of, and it’s not so much personal to me as it’s part of that era, part of that group.
The Dream Team. Best team ever put together, in my opinion. And I was hurt for most of it. I only played two, the last two Olympic games. I was hurt in the Tournament of the Americas, but the chance to be a part of that, and watch practices, be a part of those practices, it was poetry in motion. Kinda basketball heaven, for me. I really enjoyed that.
[The 1992 and 1996 Olympic gold medal game balls are] in the Delta Center. They’re on display. They kinda fell into my hands. The first one did for sure, and the second one, I was a little more determined to hold onto it. But I just thought it’d be a nice keepsake for people out west to get a chance to see it, and all they have to do is go to the Delta Center to see it. (More on this here.)
Can I just say how much I love it that both Karl and John still say “Delta Center”?
When it comes to short shorts, how short is too short?
There’s no such thing as too short.
What was Karl Malone muttering when he shot free throws?
“Mom, help these free throws go in.”
What do you have nightmares about?
* Shouldn’t Stock have said, “Not pass(ing)”? :)
Who do you like in the Kitten Bowl this year?
What are you going to be for Halloween this year?
Probably a vampire.
Which point guards do you enjoy watching?
The guy I enjoy watching a lot is Tony Parker. I enjoy the way the Spurs play and the way he plays the position.
And Karl’s said he enjoys watching Tim Duncan and the Spurs…
Why did you want to write your autobiography?
Well, I hadn’t really thought far enough ahead to think about getting it published and all that. I was writing it as a project, things I needed or wanted to tell my own children, or there might be a good lesson for friends of my children at the time.
And I just thought I’d go along that route for awhile, and then it kinda took a little energy as the process went on, and guys wanted to publish it, and that brought a whole new light to it. So I hadn’t really intended the public part of it, at the start anyway.
On his relationship with Karl Malone
[We] developed a little bit of a friendship there [at the 1984 Olympic trials] that never really, anything happened until he was drafted two years later by the Jazz. I was already there, and we met at the zoo after his draft day, and kind of rekindled that conversation, and been best of friends ever since.
He’s just a good man from a completely different area that I was, and yet we both felt completely at ease talking to each other, and it’s been a relationship I’ve been really proud of for the last, well, almost 30 years.
What were you guys doing at the zoo?
After I was drafted, they bring you in to kind of meet some of the players and get a look at the city you’re gonna be living in and things like that. Only I was one of those players when he came in.
So, I think I might’ve even asked him, “Hey, what do you want to do? You wanna go to the zoo?” and you know, he wasn’t very recognizable at that time. I certainly wasn’t, and we walked all around the zoo pretty much unaccosted and enjoyed the day looking at the animals. So, I don’t know why or what precipitated it, though.
What was your reaction when you heard Gary Payton say you were tougher to guard than Michael Jordan?
I gotta admit, I smiled a little bit. I mean, I was, that’s quite a compliment. If you can get the upper hand on Michael for any particular reason, even if it’s, I don’t know, a math grade, then I think you’d be proud of that. But I’ve enjoyed my battles with Gary. I thought, I took it as a great compliment from a warrior and a guy that brought it every night, and, but I didn’t put too much into it after that. It’s just a nice thing to hear.
Do you feel like your career is complete without a championship ring?
Oh, absolutely. I mean, I think, I felt like I laid it all out there for 19 years, and you don’t always achieve the goals that you shoot for. Maybe if I’d've won one, I’d've, I’d think now that I’d accomplished something and my life would be over. But hopefully now I’m looking ahead and thinking that there’s bigger and better things that I’m expected to do, and hopefully I can reach one of those.
What’s it like to watch your son, David, suit up for your alma mater?
Oh, it’s a blast, to get to see him play everyday. All the games there are on TV, so if they’re even on the road, I get a chance to see him. I’ve got the, those fancy new gadgets like a DVR where I can go back and see him if I’m out at one of my other kids’ games or practices, and it’s just really, it’s real, I’m proud of what he’s been able to accomplish and proud of the Zags, what they’ve been able to accomplish. It just, it feels like home.
What was it like to play for the hard-nosed Jerry Sloan?
Coach Sloan’s hard-nosed, but he’s also very fair. And he’s been through the battles, and he knows what’s going on out there. He, I thought he showed a lot of trust in us out on the floor, and always had our back. If we didn’t play well, he took the blame for it. And if we did play well, then he, it was all us, not him.
So, I don’t think everybody gets a chance to honor him to the re–to the area he belongs. I mean, he’s just a phenomenal coach, great man, and good mentor for me. So I just am thrilled by that relationship.