Bits from John Stockton Interview (Dan Patrick Show), 6/20
Who was the best player at the 1984 Olympic trials?
You know, there was a guy there that, I guarded a bunch of guys, and the toughest guy for me to guard in camp every day was Pearl Washington. He’s just a big, strong fellow and I had issues with him, but felt pretty comfortable, at least not being better than anybody else, but being able to play with everybody else.
If you played today, would you wear baggy shorts or would you still go with the short shorts?
I’d j–probably do what I did then. I’d play with, play in what they gave me. I didn’t even know until about my 16th or 17th year that they allowed you to [play in longer shorts].
Who was your favorite point guard to watch?
Growing up? Oh man, I loved the Sonics. The, Gus Williams, Dennis Johnson. I don’t know if either one of ‘em would be considered a strict point guard, but those were the guys that I loved to watch and tried to copy wherever I could. Other than that, I copied local high school guys that I thought were pretty neat.
The pick and roll is so simplistic but so hard to guard. Why?
Well, number one, for me anyway, I got to include Karl Malone as the other half of the pick and roll. That’s the biggest reason why it’s tough to guard. And then across the way it would be Jeff Hornacek or Jeff Malone, and you have to guard them as well.
So, it really isn’t a very good play if you only have two players, but if you have a pretty good team and everybody understands the spacing and understands the angles, then it’s all a matter of what you’ve seen, how many times you’ve seen it before, and what advantage you can gain.
Why do players that played against you always say you were dirty? Were you dirty?
No, I sometimes sit at home and try to figure that one out myself. I, you know, guys set screens. It’s a dogfight out there, and guys set screens and their knees stick out and their elbows, and you know, you can stand up like a peacock and get your head taken off, or you can lower your body and go through aggressively.
And so, that, maybe that’s one reason, is I wasn’t, I just didn’t let myself be a target. Another one is I did set screens trying to get Karl open, or Jeff, or you know, those are some of the things you sacrifice.
But you take a beating too. So, you know, I think it’s kinda weak, actually, when somebody says that. I sure took some hits, and I got plenty of stitches, and I didn’t spend much time calling other people dirty because of it. So, anyway, that’s, it is what it is.
How long did it take you to get over the Micahel Jordan jumper?
About three days. He, you win and lose a lotta games when you play in the NBA, and certainly that one was crushing. But we thought we’d go back. We thought we’d get another chance, and darn near did it.
But my mindset was always looking forward, and yeah, that stung and then there’s no game like a normal season. There’s no game to think about next. You have to wait for the next season, but I thought there’d be another shot at it. So, I’ve moved on.
Did Michael Jordan push off?
Would you have called that foul?
I don’t think I would’ve called it. The push-off is part of the game, and to be a great player and a great scorer, you have to find ways to get yourself open and get shots off…So, yeah. Did he push off? Sure, sh–but I don’t think I would’ve called it.
Would Bryon Russell have been called for a foul if he’d pushed off Michael Jordan?
I don’t know if I can or wanna go there.
You’re the point guard and you’re building a team. Which of today’s players are you picking to fill out the other four spots?
Wow. Can I just go put a Spurs uniform on and let ‘er rip?
So you’re taking Tony Parker’s place?
Maybe I’ll just play alongside him. I’ll back him up.
Could you still play 10 minutes a game?
That’d be insulting to the guys that play. I mean, I’m 52 years old and I know the drop-off and I know the workouts that I had to do, ba–way back when and I can’t come close to ‘em now. So, yeah, if, I can give ‘em 10 minutes if I just wanna get killed.
How many dunks did you have in your career?
Well, I had one, but nobody else saw it. And so, I, that was it…It was against Cleveland in the old Salt Palace. It was the end of the game and I went up petrified of missing a shot.
And so I go up and just, it wasn’t a tear-down-the-rim thing or anything. I just kinda went and dropped it in, and nobody even stood up on the bench.
Your favorite Dream Team memories were of the practices rather than the actual Olympic games?
You knew when you walked in the court that [the games] were foregone conclusions. They, the other team was asking, were more concerned about getting autographs and pictures with Larry [Bird] and Michael and Magic [Johnson] than they were playing.
So, those were kind, relatively easy at the time, but not anymore, but they were then. And, but those games in practice were just cutthroat, and if I were telling those stories [to my grandkids], I’d probably get into those details.
Is it true that Clyde Drexler showed up to practice one day with two left shoes?
[laughs] Um, I don’t know what you’re talking about.*
* Karl and David Robinson had no qualms telling the Drexler story when they appeared on Dan Patrick’s show two years ago.