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Newz Forum: BASKETBALL: Stockton's #12 retired in Utah

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posted on Nov, 22 2004 @ 10:55 PM
Monday night the Utah Jazz honor one the greatest basketball players to ever grace the court when John Stockton's jersey number twelve will be retired to the rafters of the Delta Center, never to be worn by another Jazzman again. For those of us lucky enough to be here for this momentous occasion, it is appropriate to reflect upon his impact on the Jazz, Salt Lake City, the NBA and basketball in general.

Stockton played the game with style, toughness and panache, a rare mix that can only be attributed to the upper echelon of basketball's greats. With John, basic chest and bounce passes became beauty; simplicity became contrast to the flashy no-look and behind-the-back passes that became standard for point guards around the league. There can never be a doubt as to which was more effective, as the Jazz made the playoffs in each of Stockton's 19 seasons and he became the NBA's all-time leader in career assists.

John Stockton's jersey and number wll be retired Monday Nov. 22 during a game against the New Orleans Hornets.

Trends never made their way into Stockton's repertoire. Not baggy shorts, flashy passes, gaudy jewelry, or even gloating. He played the game's purest position in its purest form. Stockton was a basketball player; not an entertainer, celebrity or superstar, although he was more than that in the hearts of his fans and those around him.

The records are remarkable and the accomplishments too many to list here. But a player like Stockton can't be appreciated by simply looking at stats or box scores. To really understand what John did on the court, one must see the way he worked with his teammates, how he vigorously fought through screens, or the way he seemed to see everything that was happening on the court.

The team and the league changed, but Stockton always played the same way - the right way.

The team and the league changed, but Stockton always played the same way - the right way.

Legendary UCLA coach John Wooden said Stockton was the one player in the league he would pay to watch. NBA hall-of-fame coach Jack Ramsey called him the ultimate team player and the best point guard ever in the halfcourt. High praise from two of the game's high priests, but anyone who understands the sport knows that Stockton rightly deserves a spot in basketball lore.

John never reached his goal of winning an NBA championship, despite reaching the Finals twice. But one must never make the mistake of insinuating that he was not a champion. A champion plays with the heart of a warrior and never gives up the pursuit of his worthy goals. He may not have a ring, but Stockton serves as a model of consistency and determination that was never swayed or shaken.

When John retired in May 2003, it was a fitting end to an incomparable career. Just as always, he avoided the spotlight and fanfare and chose to quietly walk away into the next phase of his life as dad. But he will never be forgotten, not here or anywhere where the game is cherished.

Tonight, we all say thank you for the memories and inspiration. Karl Malone, faithful teammate and a man whose name will forever be intertwined with John's, said "there will never be another like him. I guarantee you that."

Thanks for the memories, number 12. You're truly the greatest!


Official site of the Utah Jazz

posted on Nov, 22 2004 @ 11:22 PM
Stockton is, without a doubt, my favorite player of all-time. A conummate team player, he defined blue collar through the expansion phase of the NBA that brought us the street thugs we have today. No glitz, just work. What more can you ask for?

Nothing in sports hurts me as much as knowing that he never got a ring. some guy named Jordan stood in the way. The closest that he will get is if and when Karl Malone gets one.

My favorite sports memory is when he hit the game-winning shot to send the Jazz to the first finals in team history. I balled my friggin eyes out.

Here are some more links to Stockton tributes -

Stockton - always a factor

Best Point Guard of all time?

Stockton's career stats

stockton quotes

Facee to face with Dr. Jack Ramsey

John announces his retirement

ESPN's tribute to Stockton


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