1 of 14Photo courtesy of Gonzaga/Collegiate Images
John Stockton, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009, played four seasons at his hometown Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., before being drafted by the Utah Jazz with the 16th pick in 1984. He finished his career as the school's all-time leader in assists (554) and the sixth-leading scorer (1,340 points).
2 of 14Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
After playing behind Utah's incumbent starting point guard, Rickey Green, his first three seasons, Stockton earned the starting job in 1986 and never let it go. During his 19-year career, he appeared in 10 All-Star Games, set the NBA assists record and was named one of the league's 50 greatest players.
3 of 14George Frey/AFP/Getty Images
Stockton led the league in steals twice and, with a career total of 3,265, retired as the NBA's all-time leader.
4 of 14Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
Utah's success flowed from the parternship of Stockton and Karl Malone. Behind the lethal pick-and-roll duo, the Jazz were a perennial playoff team that reached the NBA Finals twice, in 1997 and '98.
5 of 14AP
Durability was one of Stockton's strengths. He played in 1,504 out of a possible 1,526 regular-season games, the third-most appearances all time.
6 of 14Manny Millan/SI
Stockton was known for his gritty, old-school play -- and his short shorts. Famed UCLA basketball coach John Wooden once said of Stockton, "He's the only pro I would pay to watch play."
7 of 14AP
Among Stockton's career highlights was his inclusion on both the original Dream Team in 1992 and its successor in 1996 (pictured). Team USA won the gold medal in each event.
8 of 14AP
In one of his most memorable moments, Stockton nailed a buzzer-beating three-pointer over Houston's Charles Barkley in Game 6 of the 1997 Western Conference finals. The shot secured an NBA Finals berth for the Jazz.
9 of 14
One thing missing from Stockton's portfolio: a championship ring. The Bulls beat the Jazz in the Finals in back-to-back seasons.
10 of 14John W. McDonough/SI
Stockton played his last 15 seasons under coach Jerry Sloan, who is also part of the 2009 Hall of Fame class. As accomplished as he was, Stockton looked over at Sloan on most half-court possessions. "Why wouldn't I?" he told SI near the end of his career. "He's the coach. He runs the team."
11 of 14John W. McDonough/SI
Depsite his appearance as an everyman, the 6-foot-1 Stockton was feisty and unafraid against bigger opponents, expecially in setting picks in Utah's well-oiled offense. Some opponents called Stockton a dirty player. "That's ridiculous," Stockton told Sports Illustrated in 1994. "I hope I'm an irritating player. But dirty? Not even close."
12 of 14Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images
Stockton played his last game on April 30, 2003, finishing with eight points and seven assists in a series-clinching loss to the Kings in the first round of the playoffs. He retired two days later.
13 of 14AP
In February 2004, Gonzaga retired Stockton's jersey. No player had worn No. 12 since he left in 1984.
14 of 14AP
In addition to retiring Stockton's jersey in November 2004, the Jazz erected a statue in his honor outside their arena.
You May Like
Sign Up for our Newsletter
Don't get stuck on the sidelines! Sign up to get exclusives, daily highlights, analysis and more—delivered right to your inbox!