John Stockton‘s love for the Utah Jazz was rooted in his loyalty to the team and their shared history. He had been with the team since he entered the NBA, playing all of his 19 seasons with them from 1984-2003. Here are five reasons why Stockton dedicated himself so fully to the Jazz:
1. Dedication to Longevity:
Stockton was known as one of the most durable players in NBA history, and is still recognized as such today. He broke and still holds many records for game attendance, including consecutive games played (1074), games started (1156) and minutes played (47,000). By staying with one team throughout his career, he showed a commitment to longevity that few other professional athletes have achieved.
2. Respect for the Organization:
Stockton showed respect for the Jazz organization by giving them his full effort and dedication. He was a leader on the court, but also off it, taking time after practices and games to mentor younger players coming up in the league. Stockton’s loyalty to the Jazz made him one of its most beloved figures throughout his tenure with them.
3. Love for His Home Team:
Stockton was born and raised in Utah, going to college at Gonzaga University before being drafted into the NBA by the Jazz in 1984. He has always held a special place in his heart for Utah and he wanted to remain close to home while playing basketball professionally. Stockton saw his NBA career as an opportunity to give back to the state that had given him so much.
4. Pride in His Achievements:
Stockton made a name for himself with the Jazz and left his mark on NBA history by breaking multiple records, including most career assists (15,806) and steals (3,265). He was also named an All-Star ten times during his tenure with the team. Stockton took pride in his accomplishments and saw staying with one team as a way to honor them.
5. Loyalty to Teammates:
Stockton shared a special bond with teammate Karl Malone and helped lead the Jazz to two consecutive trips to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998. They were often referred to as “The Stockton and Malone Show” and formed a dynamic duo that was unique in the league. By staying with the Jazz, Stockton showed loyalty to his teammates and their shared success.
Through his commitment to the Utah Jazz, John Stockton set an example for athletes everywhere as he dedicated himself to one team for 19 seasons. His loyalty, respect, pride and love for the organization made him one of its most iconic figures throughout NBA history.