Stockton, John

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John Stockton


American basketball player

The NBA all-time leader in assists and steals, John Stockton loves to play basketball. Holding the record for most NBA games with the same team, the Utah Jazz, Stockton became one of the best shooting point guards and helped the Jazz to 19 straight play-off appearances. Eagle-eyed on the court, he holds the record for most assists in a single game, most assists in a single season, and most career assists with an unsurmountable 15,177. He played nine consecutive All-Star Games, and played on the US Olympic Dream Team which won gold in both the 1992 Barcelona Games and 1996 Atlanta Games. Stockton is one of a few members of the NBA to play into his forties, and he is known as a gentleman off the court.

Underrated But Proved His Worth

John Stockton was born in Spokane, Washington, and attended the little-known Gonzaga University in his home town. A star player on the school's basketball team, Stockton averaged 20.9 points and 7.2 assists as a senior. He was the first player at his school to accumulate more than 1,000 points and 500 assists.

In 1984, the Utah Jazz selected Stockton with the 16th overall pick in the NBA Draft. Underrated at the start, Stockton soon proved his worth. He earned a reputation as being the best point guard in the league, and a reputation for longevity, when in 1984 he began what would become the record for most NBA games with the same team1,271.

During his career with the Jazz, Stockton racked up a string of achievements. Named NBA Player of the Month in February 1988, he would eventually earn two-time All-NBA First Team selection (for 1993 and 1994), plus six-time All-NBA Second Team selection, five-time NBA All-Defensive Second Team selection, three-time All-NBA Third Team selection, and play nine consecutive All-Star Games, averaging 7.8 ppg and 8.2 apg.

Steals and Assist Champion

Showing that his skill lay in steals and assists, Stockton led the NBA in steals in 1988 (3.21 spg) and again in 1991 (2.98 spg). In 1989, he rolled in the highest single-season assists-per-game, an average 14.5. The following season, he recorded most assists in a single season1,164. Stockton accounted for seven of the nine seasons of 1,000 or more assists in league history.

He took a brief time out to help the 1992 US Olympic Dream Team win a gold medal at the Barcelona games, and served four years later with the team at the 1996 Atlanta Games. In 1993, the All-Star Game in Salt Lake City saw Stockton and teammate Karl Malone named co-MVPs. Stockton registered 15 assists, with 9 points and 6 rebounds.

Stockton became a free agent following the 1995-96 season and signed a three-year deal with the Jazz for $15 million. Continuing his astonishing performance that season, Stockton broke the NBA record of 9,921 career assists previous held by Los Angeles Lakers' Magic Johnson . Stockton now held the record for nine seasons leading the league in assists. That same season, he surpassed Maurice Cheeks' record of 2,310 steals during a 112-98 victory over the Boston Celtics. Not surprisingly, Stockton was named in 1996 one of the 50 greatest players in NBA History.

In game six of the 1997 Western Conference Finals, Stockton nailed the game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer in a 103-100 win over the Houston Rockets to propel the Jazz to their first trip to the NBA Finals.

John Stockton

Ageless wonder John Stockton, all-time NBA leader in every major assist category, has been playing for the Utah Jazz since 1984. He holds the record for most career assists and career steals. His love of the game, staying power, and nice guy reputation have caused some to say he represents all that is good in basketball. After signing another two-year contract at age 40, Stockton promises to achieve an assist record that will be challenge to beat.

John Stockton ranks among the top point guards in NBA history, the league's all-time leader in both assists and steals. A gritty, durable player who sees the floor as well as anyone who ever played the game, he holds many assists records, including the mark for career assists at 14,503 (entering 2001-02). Stockton's other records include most assists in a season (1,164), highest assists average for a season (14.5 apg), a tie for most assists in a playoff game (24), most consecutive seasons leading the league and total seasons leading the league (9), and a tie for third for most assists in a game (28).

In addition, in 1995-96 he became the league's all-time leader in steals, passing Maurice Cheeks' mark of 2,310. He had 2,976 at the conclusion of the 2000-01 season.

Stockton is an annual All-Star and All-NBA selection and has made the NBA All-Defensive Team three times. He has teamed with Karl Malone to form one of the most productive and enduring duos in league history. After missing a total of four games in his first 13 pro seasons, Stockton missed the first 18 games of the 1997-98 campaign following preseason knee surgery, but has played in every game since that time.


Longevity and Durability

Although he missed the first 18 games of the 1997-98 campaign due to preseason knee surgery, Stockton is renowned for his near-perfect attendance. He played in 609 consecutive games from 1990 through 1997, the 8th longest streak in NBA history. He missed only four games in his first 13 profession seasons, and played in every game in 15 of his 17 seasons. In November 2000, he broke John Havlicek 's record of 1,270 games played with a single team.

Overall for his career, by the 2001-02 season, Stockton ranked third all-time in games played at 1,340, just behind Robert Parish's 1,611 and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 's 1,560. He holds the NBA record for 15,177 assists and 3,128 steals. His career assists average is a record 11.1 apg. In all 17 of his seasons, he participated in the NBA Playoffs.

Career Statistics

UT: Utah Jazz.


1962Born March 26 in Spokane, Washington
1984Is named to Utah Jazz
1992US Olympic basketball Dream Team in Barcelona
1992Competes in the Long-Distance Shootout during All-Star Weekend
1995-96Signs a three-year deal with the Jazz for $15 million
1996US Olympic basketball Dream Team in Atlanta
1997Competes in the Long-Distance Shootout during All-Star Weekend
1999Is named to All-NBA team
1999Is re-signed by Utah for $22 million for two years
2001-02Is re-signed by Utah for $18 million for two years

Awards and Accomplishments

1988Named NBA Player of the Month in February
1988-89Led the NBA in steals (3.21 spg)
1989-90Highest single-season assists-per-game, average 14.5
1990-91Record for most assists in a single season, 1,164
1992Won Olympic gold in Barcelona
1993Named co-MVP with teammate Karl Malone
1994Selected to the All-NBA team First Team
1995Selected to the All-NBA team First Team
1995Set the NBA record for career assists
1996Set the NBA record for career steals
1996Record for most seasons leading league in assists
1996Selected as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History
1996Won Olympic gold in Atlanta
1997Played nine consecutive All-Star games, since 1988
2000Broke John Havlicek's record of 1,270 games played with one team
2001-02NBA career leader with 15,177 assists and 3,128 career steals

Continuing his streak with the Utah Jazz, in September 1999 he signed a two-year contract for $22 million. With no hint of retirement in the air, the nearly 40-year-old Stockton signed another two-year, $18 million contract during the 2000-01 season. He is one of only a handful of men who are still playing basketball into their forties. Stockton and his wife, Nada, have six children and own homes in Salt Lake City and Spokane, Washington.



Heeren, Dave. The Basketball Abstract. Edgewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1988.

Hickok, Ralph. Who's Who of Sports Champions. Boston, MA; Houghton Mifflin, 1995.


The John Stockton Pages. (December 15, 2002).

The NBA. (December 15, 2002).

Sports Illustrated. (December 15, 2002).

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (December 15, 2002).

Utah Jazz. (December 15, 2002).

Sketch by Lorraine Savage