Where Are They Now: Stephen Howard
Where are you now?
I live in Dallas, where I’m from. And after I stopped playing basketball, I started working for ESPN as a college basketball analyst. I also worked for Fox Sports as an NBA analyst, and my first year I was working for the Oklahoma City Thunder doing their pre- and post-game studio.
And then the last four years, working for the New Orleans Pelicans doing their pre- and post-game studio along with my college basketball duties with ESPN. And I also am a motivational speaker speaking to youth and corporate entities about leadership…and overcoming adversity.
And you know, other than that, I’m a dad. I have two daughters. My oldest daughter is a freshman at Wake Forest playing volleyball. And that’s pretty much it. My plate’s full.
How did you end up with the Jazz?
I wasn’t drafted, and Utah was the only organization that offered me a tryout for the rookie — rookie tryout. And I played well during the, you know, the rookie p–the rookie league, and they invited me to vet camp. And it was pretty much as a, I’m sure as a practice player.
But I just, you know, wouldn’t allow them to cut me, really. And every day it’s just something that, you know, sparked their interest, and ended up sticking on with them for that whole year, and then ended up going overseas after that.
Then I came back the next year and played with them again, and then went overseas again. And then the year that, ’96-’97 when they went to the Finals, I started out with them again during veterans camp and ended up getting cut, and decided to stay in the States and play in the CBA, and I got called up by the Spurs.
And then actually the Jazz came and played them in San Antonio, and this is the year before they got Tim Duncan, so it shows you how good the Spurs were that year. Everybody was hurt, and we ended up beating the Jazz, and then I ended up finishing the year out with the Jazz and playing in the Finals, and you know, the rest was history.
On Jerry Sloan
I think I had that same mentality of Jerry Sloan, as a hard worker, and he respected that. And so, he always would give me an opportunity, and I’ve always respected him for that, and for that reason, you know, he’s for sure, you know, my favorite coach I’ve ever played for. …
[Because he treated everybody the same], that was really the primary reason why I was given that, the opportunity. Because I was a guy that made the minimum every time that I was with the Jazz, and if a guy that was making $3 million was making mistakes, he would put them on that same level and would just throw me in there, and it didn’t matter that I was a guy that made the minimum and wasn’t drafted and, you know, wasn’t heralded as a player.
He respected the process, and respected my work ethic and what I was able to do on the court. And because of that, gave me an opportunity. And because of that, you know, I’ve been able to translate that into, you know, work with ESPN and motivational speaking and all the other things that I’ve been able to accomplish.
And again, it all goes down to the opportunity that he gave me, and Frank and Scott Layden, when, you know, when they brought me in for that team.
But yeah, [Sloan]’s a guy that, I mean, when you talk about work ethic and integrity and character, you know, he, you know, there was a lot of life lessons that he would impart upon me, as well as my teammates as well. (KALL)