Stockton Completes Journey To Naismith Hall Of Fame
Sept. 11, 2009
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- John Stockton, the NBA's career leader in assists and steals, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in ceremonie Friday.
Stockton played his entire 19-year career in Utah, leading the Jazz to the NBA finals in 1997 and 1998. He also won Olympic gold medals in 1992 and 1996.
His longtime coach, Jerry Sloan, was also in Friday's class. Stockton said his coach's record "speaks for itself" and called longtime teammate Karl Malone the best power forward in NBA history.
Considered one of the NBA's best point guards, Stockton averaged 13.1 points and 10.5 assists for his career.
The Hall's class also included Stockton's Dream Team teammates, Michael Jordan and David Robinson; and Rutgers women's coach C. Vivian Stringer.
Stockton talked about his Spokane roots, his days at St. Aloysius grade school, Gonzaga Prep and Gonzaga University. He thanks his family, his coaches and friends for helping mold him into what he became and what he stands for.
Stockton spent his entire NBA career with the Utah Jazz, accumulating 15,806 assists and 3,265 steals - both NBA records at his retirement. He was named to 10 NBA All-Star teams and was selected as a member of the NBA's 50th Anniversary Team while leading the Jazz to two NBA Finals. He was also named to the All-NBA First Teams in 1994 and 1995. Like Robinson, Stockton won two Olympic Gold Medals (1992, 1996) and was a member of the original "Dream Team".
He is still prominent on Gonzaga University's career lists. He is still 17th on the all-time scoring list with 1,340 points, is third in assists with 554 and first in steals with 262. He is currently ninth in field goals made (514), field goal percentage (55.9 percent) and 10th in free throw made (313).
On the Bulldogs single-season charts Stockton is ninth in field goals made (229 in 1984), third in assists (201 in 1984) and holds the top three spots in steals with 109 in 1984, and 68 in both 1982 and '83. Stockton was voted the 1984 West Coast Conference Player of the Year in 1984 and was an honorable mention All-America selection by both Associated Press and United Press International.
Equally strong in the classroom, Stockton was a College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) All-Academic second-team All-America pick in 1984, and in 2002 was inducted into the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame in ceremonies held in New York.
Stockton becomes the third Gonzaga University athlete who went on to a professional career to be inducted into their sports hall of fame, joining National Football League Hall of Famers Tony Canadeo and Ray Flaherty. Canadeo, who played his entire career with the Green Bay Packers (1941-44; 1946-52), was inducted in 1974, while Flaherty, who split his career between the Boston/Washington Redskins (1936-42) and New York Yankees (1946-48), was inducted in 1976.
The following is a synopsis of the other four hall of famers inducted with Stockton.
Michael Jordan - Player, is one of the most recognized figures in the sporting world. Jordan was selected as a unanimous collegiate All-American twice (1983, 1984) at the University of North Carolina where he won an NCAA Championship and received both Naismith and Wooden Award Honors. He went on to a storied NBA career with the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards and was a 14-time NBA All-Star, a five-time NBA MVP, a six-time NBA Finals MVP, and won multiple All-NBA First Team honors while winning six NBA Championships. Jordan was also named NBA Defensive Player of the Year (1988) and was a nine-time member of the NBA All-Defensive Team. The NBA's Rookie of the Year in 1985, Jordan was also named to the NBA's 50th Anniversary Team and won two Olympic Gold Medals including one with the original "Dream Team" in 1992 and one as a collegian in 1984.
David Robinson - Player, spent his entire NBA career with the San Antonio Spurs, guiding them to two NBA Championships while being named to 10 NBA All-Star Teams, four All-NBA First Team Selections, one NBA League MVP and was selected to the NBA's 50th Anniversary Team. Robinson also won two Olympic Gold Medals, including his participation on the legendary 1992 "Dream Team" and with the 1996 Gold Medal Olympic team. During Robinson's college career at the U.S. Naval Academy, he earned Player of the Year, Naismith and Wooden Honors while leading the nation in rebounding and blocked shots.
Jerry Sloan - Coach, began his coaching career as an Assistant Coach with the Chicago Bulls before beginning his tremendous career with the Utah Jazz. He is the only coach in NBA history to win over 1,000 games with a single team while compiling a winning percentage of over .600. Sloan led the Jazz to two NBA Finals, 18 playoff appearances and is fourth on the NBA list of coaching victories. Sloan was also named as the Sporting News NBA Coach of the Year in 2004.
C. Vivian Stringer - Coach, has won more than 800 games in her career and currently ranks third on the women's all-time career wins list. She is the first coach to lead three different schools to the NCAA Final Four including Cheyney State, the University of Iowa and Rutgers University where she is currently. Coach Stringer is also enshrined at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame
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