Posted by: Ryan Walker on February 3rd, 2011The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
Imposing, Intimidating, Dominant…
19,711 points, 15,806 assists, 3,265 steals…
These are some words and numbers that describe one of the fiercest competitors in the history of professional sports. Although he is considered to be one of the greatest point guards ever, NO ONE, and I mean no one expected greatness from a short, skinny, white kid out of Gonzaga. While at the time, people would have laughed at the descriptions and stats above, he remains one of the most imposing, intimidating, and dominant players in history.
Drafted by the Utah Jazz as the 16th overall pick in the 1984 draft, John was underestimated from the beginning, and had to prove his worth the hard way. He saw the court with unmatched vision, and lead his team like a General on the battlefield. He played with true heart and determination, and blended a dynamic skill set with a relentless will to win. An iconic passer, and an overlooked scorer, few played the game as long or as well as he did. He dribbled the ball with precision and purpose, and relinquished it with touch, and impeccable timing.
Those Who Giveth, Also Taketh Away….
Like most aspects of Stockton’s career, his accomplishments and accolades are often overlooked. As the NBA’s all-time leader in assists and steals, he is in one of the most elite categories in the sport’s history. Along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, and Hakeem Olajuwon who are the all-time leaders in points, rebounds, and blocks respectively. It’s obvious he belongs to a very exclusive club.
People speak of Ripken’s longevity, or Favre’s endurance, and while their streaks are truly amazing and untouchable, some attention should be paid to Stockton’s durability. Over the course of his 20-year career, the 40 year old point guard played in 1,504 out of a possible 1,526 games. While playing in all 82 games of the season a remarkable 17 out of 19 years.
In this age of prima donnas and a constant ” Me, me, me” attitude, John Stockton played the game the way it was intended to be played. He showed up to work everyday and gave 100% effort, 100% of the time. Although he is one of the greatest competitors of all-time, he is the poster child for over-achievement. He took his natural skill and ability, and willed himself to be better than his supposed “best”.
Obviously John can’t step onto the court anymore, but current players could take a page or two out of his book. We have some of the most talented players in the world on the Utah Jazz, but they can’t continue to play on talent alone. They must will themselves to be better than their “best”, and do everything in their power to reach their maximum potential. Then, and only then, will we see how good this team can really be.
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