NBA’s Greatest Point Guard Ever Still Lives in Spokane
Basketball is different from most team sports. The chances of one player taking over and controlling the narrative of the game are much higher than in other sports like hockey, which works in shifts, or football, which has one-way players (offensive or defensive, not both.)
One such player who had the ability to dictate the outcome of a game was John Stockton. Stockton, an unassuming man, looks more like he'd help you with your computer or printer, not drop dimes for the 1992 USA Olympics Dream Team. In 19 seasons, his Jazz made the playoffs 19 times. Stockton is the league record-holder for assists and steals in a career, and second place isn't close. He's one of the greatest players in NBA history yet most fans couldn't tell you where he grew up or where he went to school.
John Stockton is the greatest player Gonzaga has ever produced.
Gonzaga is a well-known program now but for the longest time, fans could only point to John Stockton when reveling in school history. Gonzaga was the middle of nowhere before Stockton. Forty-plus years later, John Stockton is still living in Spokane, where he was born, where he went to high school, and where he went to college.
John Stockton faced Michael Jordan in back-to-back NBA Finals.
Although he was never able to secure a ring, Stockton cemented his legacy with two Olympic gold medals and two back-to-back Western Conference Championships. The Utah Jazz were seen as the potential foil to Michael Jordan for years and proved to be a formidable opponent with the presence of Stockton and Karl "The Mailman" Malone during those consecutive NBA Finals runs.
Despite multiple NCAA Championship appearances, the Gonzaga program has yet to hoist a title. Gonzaga also has yet to produce a superstar greater than John Stockton. It's possible no point guard eclipses the influence he's had on the NBA.