On this day in 1996, the Utah Jazz’s point guard John Stockton gets his 11,000th assist in the NBA. When Stockton retires from basketball in 2003, he leaves with 15,806 career assists, a record that still stands.
Stockton attended Gonzaga University and in 1984 was drafted by the Utah Jazz, where he would spend his entire career. The 6’1” point guard was the 16th overall pick in that year’s draft, which also included Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley. Stockton got his first NBA assist on November 26, 1984, and his 1,000th assist on April 5, 1986. During the 1987-1988 season, he made 1,128 assists, setting a record for most assists in one season. Isiah Thomas had previously held the record with 1,123 assists.
On February 1, 1995, Stockton shattered the NBA record for career assists--9,921--which had belonged to Magic Johnson. Stockton earned a reputation as hard-working, consistent and the ultimate team player. During his 19 seasons with the Jazz, he and forward Karl Malone led the team to the playoffs every year, although they never won the championship. Stockton was also known for wearing short basketball shorts throughout his career, even when most players began sporting a longer, baggier style in the 1990s.
In addition to Stockton’s 10 All-Star game appearances, he played on the U.S. men’s Olympic basketball teams that won gold in 1992 in Barcelona and 1996 in Atlanta.
When Stockton retired from the NBA in May 2003, he was known as one of the greatest point guards in the history of basketball and was the all-time leader in assists, with 15,806, a record he still holds. He had 19,711 career points and led the league in career steals, with a total of 3,265. In November 2004, the Utah Jazz retired Stockton’s jersey--number 12.
Watching him play was a complete enjoyment, waiting for his quick shots and razor sharp passes were two of the many weapons that he brought to the court. When they played the Bulls they brought all of their attacks hard and on point, not once did I ever think that the Bulls can walk through this team and move on. Congrats to Stockton for an achievement worth remembering.