John Houston Stockton (born March 26, 1962) is an American retired professional basketball player. He spent his entire professional playing career as a point guard for the Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association (NBA), from 1984 to 2003. Stockton is regarded as one of the best point guards of all time, holding the NBA records for most career assists andsteals by considerable margins. He is a ten-time NBA All-Star, and a two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fameinductee (in 2009 for his individual career, and in 2010 as a member of the 1992 United States men’s Olympic basketball team (“Dream Team”). He was also inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame as a member of the “Dream Team” in 2009.
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 3,000, 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 23 games during his career, 18 of them in one season. He played in 38 games where he tallied 20 or more assists.
On February 1, 1995 Stockton broke Magic Johnson’s record of 9,221 career assists in a game in Salt Lake City against the Denver Nuggets with 6:22 left in the first half with a bounce pass to Karl Malone, ending up with 9,227 in a 129-98 win; it was his 860th game, vs. 874 for Johnson.
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, 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. In Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals, Stockton made a three-pointer with 41.9 seconds left to give the Jazz an 86–83 lead, but Bulls guard Michael Jordan made two field goals to put his team ahead 87–86, the second one after stealing from Jazz forward Karl Malone. Stockton missed a three-point attempt with 5.2 seconds left and said in a post-game interview that he felt confident that the shot would go in.
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 (by comparison, only three other NBA players besides Stockton and Malone have reached 1,412 NBA games played). 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 of “shortshorts” was noteworthy as 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. Off the court, he dressed in rather ordinary attire, which contrasted with many of his NBA contemporaries who favored flashy designer clothes. Stockton was and is known for his reserved demeanor in interviews.
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 EnergySolutions Arena (then known as the Delta Center), where the Jazz play, John Stockton Drive. Stockton would later declare that despite being still content with the game and how well he was playing, his growing family made him feel that “sitting in the hotel room waiting for games wasn’t making up for what I was missing at home”.
On May 11, 2006, ESPN.com named Stockton the 4th best point guard of all time.
He played in 1,504 NBA games (the 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 he holds other scoring accuracy records as noted above.
Career highlights and awards
10× NBA All-Star (1989–1997, 2000)
NBA All-Star Game MVP (1993)
2× All-NBA First Team (1994–1995)
6× All-NBA Second Team (1988–1990, 1992–1993,1996)
3× All-NBA Third Team (1991, 1997, 1999)
5× NBA All-Defensive Second Team (1989, 1991–1992, 1995, 1997)
9× NBA assists leader (1988–1996)
2× NBA steals leader (1989, 1992)
NBA all-time assists leader
NBA all-time steals leader
NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
No. 12 retired by Utah Jazz
WCC Player of the Year (1984)
No. 12 retired by Gonzaga