Bits from John Stockton Interview
Are you and Karl Malone still friends? Do you talk much?
Oh, absolutely. We don’t talk a ton. He’s down in Arkansas. We’re in, and I’m up in Washington, and both pretty busy. We have a lot of children, and they’re all involved in sports.
And I actually saw him on TV with, I think it was Miss America. I don’t want to, Miss America or Miss USA pageant, and his family was there.
So, we’re running amok pretty good, but every once in awhile, we sit down and make sure that we communicate, and it’s as if we never left each other’s side in the locker room when we do that.
What is your life like these days?
It’s really busy. And I know that’s kinda, sounds, everybody says, “Oh, it’s busy-busy.” I have a very active family, all the way from, what, 26 years old or 27 years old down to 13, and they’re all involved in things.
And one of the things I’ve enjoyed about being retired is that I get to enjoy ‘em with ‘em. I’m not missing games; I’m not missing events, and each child brings something that we can share in.
I have one son that’s playing [basketball] in Germany. I have another son that’s working on a construction project. My son David, who a lot of you have seen with Gonzaga, and my two daughters are both active basketball players, as well as other sports. And then young Sam, my youngest, he’s involved in everything. So, and I’m coaching most of those things…
So, at the end of the day, it’s a very busy day along with some of the other stuff I’m involved with, some businesses here and there, but I go to bed tired most days.
Would you ever want to be a head coach in the NBA?
Not right now. And I, that’s, you know, I’m enjoying this. I’ve coached my youngest daughter Laura since she was a second- or third-grader in basketball, and she’s now going into her senior year in high school, and I’m still helping assistant coach there. So, we’ve been in this journey a long time [and also coaching my youngest son].
We’re not separating. Our family’s sticking together, one way or the other, and there’s just no way for me to even consider something that would either split me into another area that they aren’t, or ask them to move at this stage of their life.
It’s just not something that could possibly work for me and my family, and that’s, makes the decision easy even though there’s a lot of excitement being able to coach athletes and players and being part of an organization like the Jazz again. That part’s very exciting, but there’s just no time right now.
What is it like for your kids to compete in sports as John Stockton’s son?
All of my kids have had to deal with that, I think to some degree, and they haven’t really shown that it’s a problem. They just kinda do their thing.
David, in particular, has probably been the most visible, although Michael played at Westminster there, right there in Salt Lake City, and had a nice career there and got asked all the questions, of course. But David was a little bit more visible, and they just seem unaffected by it.
Like, they’re on their own path, and I’m glad. I feel like we’ve done something at least a little bit right. I think they feel comfortable in their own skin even playing a sport that their dad’s well-known for, and even if it’s at the same place their dad played. So, I have been very proud of how they’ve all handled it.
Do you remember what the 1984 draft was like?
Oh, I sure do, yeah. It was something new for, I mean, really, it was new for the NBA. They were just starting to grow, I guess, as far as, that the draft was still fairly small, and there was a number of guys in New York.
I wasn’t invited. I wasn’t expected to be drafted. And when that announcement came through, my house became bedlam, or my parents’ house became bedlam, with neighbors and teammates and coaches…
I remember being a little bit in a daze afterwards, going, “Wow, what just happened?” But, pretty cool experience overall, and it sure led to an even greater experience with the Jazz.
What did Larry H. Miller mean to you?
It started out a little rough. I was used to–I shouldn’t say “rough.” It started out with Mr. Battistone, Sam Battistone, his family and their, just immaculately dressed, you know, just everything perfect on the sideline there, and great people.
And then Larry Miller comes to town, and he was wearing the sand-knit pants, and he was kinda storming around everywhere, involved in everything. And as a player, you, I said, “Wow, there’s a new sheriff in town here.” That was a little odd.
But over time, I just grew to love him. Gosh, he’s such a caring guy, and he cared about each one of us, and cared about his team and his city, and picked himself up from his own bootstraps way back when and helps people still to do that even if, even with him gone. And I don’t know, you just don’t come across people like that every day.
Is it still odd to you that Jerry Sloan is no longer the coach of the Jazz and the organization you played for, those times are over?
Sure. I knew our time, I knew our stage was over when Jeff [Hornacek] left. I mean, I shouldn’t say that, that’s just a, every, it’s constantly evolving.
And when Jeff retired, that took a big hole out of what I perceived as our, as what the Jazz were. And then little by little, of course we all get older, and move away or move out, just like a family.
So, I, you know, I have no doubt in my mind that the Jazz, with their current ownership with Greg and Gail running things, I know where they wanna be and I know that they wanna get there now, and it doesn’t happen now very often, but they’re gonna get there. And I’m just gonna continue to be a fan here at home and know that it’s gonna happen. (1320)