Sports Stars

Basketball

Scottie Pippen

Position: F-G
Born: 09/25/65
Height: 6-8 / 2,03
Weight: 228 lbs. / 103,4 kg.
College: Central Arkansas '87

Six-time NBA World Champion (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 1998) … name is scattered across the NBA’s all-time leader board: 40th in total points (18,940), fourth in steals (2,307), tied for 16th in steals per game (1.96), 23rd in assists (6,135), 13th in minutes (41,069), 16th in minutes per game (34.9), 32nd in three-point field goals made (978) … ranked first in Bulls history with 664 three-pointers and 2,031 three-point field goals attempted … ranked second in Bulls history in: points (15,123), field goals (5,991), field goal attempts (12,444), free throws attempted (3,576), offensive rebounds (1,687), defensive rebounds (4,039), assists (4,494), steals (1,792), seasons played (12), games played (856) and minutes (30,269) … ranked third in Bulls history with 5,726 rebounds and 774 blocked shots … participated in postseason play in 16 of his 17 NBA seasons, making the playoffs in each of his first 16 seasons … second in NBA history with 208 playoff appearances (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 237) … owner of two NBA Finals records: most three-point field goals attempted in a career (117), most three-point field goals made in one game (7, tied with Kenny Smith) … holds career playoff record for most three-point field goals attempted (660) … member of the NBA All-Defensive Team from 1991-2000 (First Team member seven times) … selected as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996 … seven-time NBA All Star (1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997) …1994 All-Star Game MVP … made All-NBA seven straight years (1992-1998) … two-time Olympic gold medal winner … has recorded 20 career triple-doubles, including four in the playoffs … ranked atop the all-time All-Star Game leader board in 3FGA with 22 (second), 3FG made with 7 (tied for 4th) and steals with 17 (eighth) … career highs of 47 points, 18 rebounds, 15 assists, 9 steals and 5 blocked shots.

Drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics in the first round (fifth overall) of the 1987 NBA Draft … Draft rights traded in a draft-day deal (06/22/87) to Chicago for the draft rights to F/C Olden Polynice a 1988 or 1989 draft pick and the option to swap 1989 first round draft picks … traded to the Houston Rockets for F Roy Rogers and 1999 or 2000 second-round draft pick (01/22/99) … traded to the Portland Trail Blazers for C Kelvin Cato, F Stacy Augmon, G/F Walt Williams, G Brian Shaw, G Ed Gray and F/C Carlos Rogers (10/02/99) … signed by the Bulls as a free agent (07/20/03).

• Married to Larsa and the couple has two sons, Scottie Jr. and Preston
• Named Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as the person he admires most
• Authored a children’s book, “Reach Higher,” that was published in 1997
• Enjoys playing golf and captaining his boat, The Lovely Larsa.


David Robinson

Full Name: David Maurice Robinson
Born: 8/6/65 in Key West, Fla.
College: Navy
High School: Osbourn Park
(Manassas, Va.)
Drafted: San Antonio Spurs (1987)
Nickname: The Admiral
Height: 7-1
Weight: 250 lbs.
Honors: NBA champion (1999, 2003); MVP (1995); Defensive Player of the Year (1992); Rookie of the Year (1990); All-NBA First Team (1991, '92, '95, '96); All-NBA Second Team (1994, '98); All-NBA Third Team (1990, '93, 2000, '01); All-Defensive First Team (1991, '92, '95, '96); All-Defensive Second Team (1990, '93, '94, '98); 10-time NBA All-Star; NBA Sportsmanship Award (2001); Three-time Olympian (1988, '92, '96); One of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996).

One of the top centers of his era, if not of all time, David “The Admiral” Robinson was a marvel of a basketball player and a respected figure off the court. A lean, muscular, 7-1 athlete, he was fast, strong and agile. In his first six NBA seasons he won Rookie of the Year, NBA MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards, in addition to a rebounding title, a scoring crown, six All-Star bids, three selections to the All-NBA First Team and three selections to the NBA All-Defensive First Team.

A contemporary of Hakeem Olajuwon and Patrick Ewing, Robinson posted career averages of 21.1 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game and won two championships -- the second one in his final season -- to stake his claim as one of the legends of the NBA.

Robinson's lasting legacy was also defined by his status one of the pre-eminent philanthropists in all of professional sports. On March 23, 2003, NBA Commissioner David Stern announced that future winners of the NBA Community Assist Award would receive the David Robinson Plaque, with the inscription, "Following the standard set by NBA Legend David Robinson, who improved the community piece by piece."

Among Robinson's charitable achievements was his $9 million commitment toward the construction and operation of The Carver Academy, an independent school for San Antonio students from a culturally diverse community.

Teammate Steve Kerr said Robinson was quick to remind the Spurs that "winning a championship doesn't make you a better person. It doesn't validate you." But championships were part of Robinson's journey through the NBA, his first one coming in his 10th year, during the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season, with a convincing five-game NBA Finals win over the New York Knicks.

By that time, he had become the Spurs' second option due to the rise of the phenomenal forward Tim Duncan. In their first season together in 1997-98, Robinson and Duncan shared the load equally as the elder player posted 21.6 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.63 blocks per game while the young star from Wake Forest had similar numbers of 21.1 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.51 blocks per game.

In their second campaign together, Robinson unselfishly redefined his game to accentuate the skills and strengths of Duncan. Robinson began to play away from the basket at the high post, allowing Duncan the freedom to maneuver down low. Robinson's regular season production slipped to 15.8 ppg and 10 rpg, but the team prospered and he was still an integral part of the Spurs' championship effort.

At the end of a long and distinguished career, Robinson won his second ring in 2002-03. That season, the Spurs tied division rival Dallas for the league's best record (62-20). In the playoffs, San Antonio stopped Phoenix, the three-time reigning champion Los Angeles Lakers and the Mavericks while on the way to a matchup against the New Jersey Nets in NBA Finals 2003.

The Spurs clinched the championship in Game 6 by ralling from a fourth-quarter deficit to take a thrilling 88-77 victory over the Nets in San Antonio. Robinson, less than two months shy of his 38th birthday, reached back for a dominant effort, finishing with 13 points, 17 rebounds and two blocks. Robinson and Duncan teamed up to outrebound New Jersey by themselves as the Spurs enjoyed a 55-35 advantage on the boards.

"My last game, streamers flying, world champions. How could you write a better script than this?" Robinson asked.

"I'm just thrilled that David ended his career with a game like that," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "His effort was really wonderful. He really dug down deep and showed how important it was to him to help us get this victory."

"For a second there on the court," Duncan said, "I really thought, 'You know what, I'm not gonna play with this guy again. I'll have to come out on this court without him.' It's going to be weird."

Robinson is living proof of the old adage that good things come to those who wait. A 1987 graduate with a mathematics degree from the U.S. Naval Academy, Robinson honored a commitment to serve two years in the Navy before joining the NBA.

He was the best thing that ever happened to Navy basketball. A 6-4 player with one year of prep experience when he joined the team, he averaged 7.6 points and 4.0 rebounds as a freshman, but he grew seven inches while at the Academy and became a devastating force.

As a junior, he averaged 22.7 points (down from 23.6 as a sophomore), led the nation in rebounding (13.0 rpg) and set an NCAA Division I record by averaging 5.91 blocks. He blocked 14 shots in a single game that season to set a collegiate record and he tallied more blocks in a season (207) than any player up to that point in the history of college basketball.

As a senior, he averaged 28.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 4.50 blocks to win unanimous selection as Player of the Year. He scored 50 points in his college finale, a loss to Michigan in the NCAA Tournament. He also played on the 1988 U.S. Olympic basketball team that won the bronze medal as the last purely amateur team to represent the U.S. in Olympic competition.

The only question facing San Antonio Spurs management in 1987 was whether they would be able to get to sleep every night for two years while awaiting Robinson's arrival. Robinson was certainly the best player available in the 1987 NBA Draft, but he also had a military commitment to the Navy and thus would not be able to join an NBA team until 1989.

The Spurs, who won the 1987 NBA Draft Lottery and owned the first overall pick, looked at Robinson’s college accomplishments and decided he was worth the wait.

According to plan, Robinson entered the NBA as a 24-year-old rookie with the Spurs in 1989-90. One of the most gifted and versatile athletes in the NBA, the former Navy midshipmen was the NBA Rookie of the Month all six months of the season, an All-Star at midyear and then an easy choice for the NBA Rookie of the Year Award at season’s end.

He averaged 24.3 points, 12.0 rebounds and 3.89 blocks, shooting .531 from the floor. He set Spurs rookie records in nearly every category, leading the team in scoring 46 times and in rebounding 61 times. One of only two Spurs to play in all 82 games, Robinson ranked 10th in the league in scoring, second in rebounding and third in blocked shots. He had a career-high 12 blocks against the Minnesota Timberwolves and was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team at season’s end.

Robinson’s success as a rookie was a major factor in the then-greatest one-year team turnaround in NBA history. After the Spurs posted a 21-61 record in 1988-89, they drafted Sean Elliott, traded for Terry Cummings and Rod Strickland and welcomed Robinson. The result was a remarkable 35-game improvement to a 56-26 record and the Midwest Division title. San Antonio then advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals before losing in seven games to the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Admiral had a spectacular postseason as he averaged 24.3 points, 12.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocked shots in 10 playoff games.

Within his first three seasons, Robinson established himself among the best in the league. His early achievements included All-NBA First Team selections in 1991 and 1992, NBA All-Defensive First Team berths in 1991 and the 1992 NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

But the ending to Robinson’s third NBA season was disappointing. A torn ligament in his left hand sidelined him on March 16. The injury forced him to miss the rest of the regular season and the entire postseason. Without Robinson the Spurs struggled, posting a 5-9 record to end the regular season and then suffering a first-round playoff sweep by the Phoenix Suns.

However, he joined elite company by becoming the third player in NBA history to rank among the league’s top 10 in five categories, joining Cliff Hagan (1959-60) and Larry Bird (1985-86). Robinson was seventh in scoring (23.2 ppg), fourth in rebounding (12.2 rpg), first in blocks (4.49 per game), fifth in steals (2.32 per game) and seventh in field-goal percentage (.551).

Robinson also was the first player in NBA history to rank among the top five in rebounding, blocks and steals in a single season. His excellence earned him a second consecutive All-NBA First Team selection and his third straight NBA All-Star berth. The end to that season was highlighted with his selection as the NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

After the season, Robinson traveled to Barcelona with the Dream Team, a spectacular collection of NBA stars including Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Bird that would go on to win the gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympic Games.

Robinson was a workhorse for the Spurs in his fourth NBA season. He appeared in all 82 games and played a then franchise-record 3,211 minutes. After averaging 23.4 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.22 blocks and 1.55 steals, he was named to the All-NBA Third Team and the NBA All-Defensive Second Team. He was voted to start for the Western Conference All-Stars for the third straight season and he scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the game.

The Spurs had the misfortune of meeting the NBA’s winningest team, the Phoenix Suns, in the Western Conference Semifinals. Phoenix, led by league MVP Charles Barkley, eliminated San Antonio in six games, though Robinson averaged 23.1 points and 12.6 rebounds in the postseason.

Robinson's game was at its best in the open court. He ran the floor like no 7-footer before as he could grab a defensive board to ignite a fast break and finish with an authoritative slam. And in the half-court offense, he had a soft left-handed jumper. Already recognized as one of the league's better players, the best was yet to come in 1993-94 and beyond.

With the arrival of the NBA’s designated rebounder, Dennis Rodman, taking some of the frontcourt load off his shoulders, Robinson enjoyed his highest scoring (29.8) and assist average (4.8) as a pro in 1993-94. That season, Robinson became the fourth player in NBA history to record a quadruple-double. Against the Detroit Pistons in a 115-96 victory, he had 34 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 blocked shots.

Robinson carried San Antonio to a 55-27 record, the team’s fifth consecutive season of at least 47 victories. However, the Spurs lost to the Utah Jazz in the opening round of the postseason in four games. Robinson averaged 20.0 points and 10.0 rebounds in the series.

He also made history with his 71-point explosion against the Los Angeles Clippers on the last day of the season to win the NBA scoring title at 29.8 ppg edging Orlando Magic center Shaquille O’Neal (29.3 ppg). That romp made Robinson just the fourth player ever to score 70 points in an NBA game, joining Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and David Thompson.

He also finished that season as a the NBA MVP runner-up to Olajuwon.

The next year, 1994-95, Robinson had another great season. He won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award and posted numbers of 27.6 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 3.23 blocks and 1.65 steals per game while pacing the Spurs to the NBA’s best record at 62-20. And at midseason he played in his sixth consecutive All-Star Game.

As the No. 1 seed, the Spurs swept Denver in three straight games and then got past the Lakers in six games to meet the defending champion Rockets in the conference finals. However, Robinson’s selection as MVP seemed to motivate Olajuwon, the past season’s MVP, as Olajuwon got the better of Robinson in the clash. In the series, Robinson averaged 23.8 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.17 blocks while Olajuwon averaged 35.3 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.17 blocks and the Rockets won in six games.

Following the season, Robinson played for 1996 U.S. Olympic Team, which won a gold medal at the Summer Games in Atlanta.

The next season, while at the peak of his game, Robinson would suffer the darkest moments of his career. However, it laid the foundation for the remainder of his days in the NBA and the future of the franchise.

Robinson suffered a back injury prior to the 1996-97 season and returned to play in six games before suffering a fractued left foot. The Spurs slumped to 20-62, but the silver lining for the Silver and Black was a chance to grab the No. 1 selection in the 1997 Draft Lottery.

The prize that draft was Tim Duncan. The Spurs won the right to draft Duncan and the San Antonio version of the Twin Tower would win two rings over the next five seasons.

Robinson and Duncan played exceptionally well together in their first season and the team achieved a 36-game win improvement, which surpassed the Spurs' previously greatest NBA turnaround in the 1989-90 season by one game. Robinson led the team in scoring with 21.6 ppg and Duncan in rebounding with 11.9 rpg and the two each recorded more than 2.5 blocks per game. However, the team lost to the Utah Jazz 4-1 in the Western Conference Semifinals.

In their second season as teammates, the Robinson- and Duncan-led Spurs put it all together. They finished atop the Midwest Division and, along with the Jazz, held the league's best record of 37-12 in the shortened season. For the second consecutive season the Spurs also set an NBA record for lowest opponent field goal percentage, bettering the previous season's mark of .411 to .402.

The Spurs raced through the playoffs, losing only twice and recorded an NBA record of 12 consecutive wins at one point while becoming the first former American Basketball Association team to win an NBA championship. The Spurs defeated the Knicks, who lost Ewing to an Achilles tendon injury in the Eastern Conference Finals. Robinson tallied 25 points to lead the Spurs in scoring in a Game 3 defeat, 89-81, the sole Spurs' loss in the Finals. He also grabbed 12 boards in the series-clinching victory in Game 5.

Over the next three seasons, the Lakers, led by O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, would reign as champs. Although Robinson played in at least 78 regular season games per season during that span, he would miss valuable time in the postseason because of back ailments or other injuries. Duncan also missed the entire 2000 postseason due to injury as the Suns defeated the Spurs in the first round. And in 2001 and 2002, the Lakers would handle the Spurs relatively easily, sweeping them in the 2001 Western Conference Finals and needing just five games in the 2002 Conference Semifinals.

Robinson's final season, however, was full of rewards as the Spurs defeated their nemesis, the three-time defending champion Lakers, en route to the NBA title. During that Western Conference Semifinals matchup against Los Angeles, the Spurs held onto win a crucial Game 5, 96-94, when Robert Horry's three-point shot rimmed out and Robinson snared the rebound. That shot, if good, would have capped a 25-point comeback victory and may have derailed the Spurs' championship hopes. San Antonio, however, went into Los Angeles and won Game 6 and the series.

The Spurs then went on to to defeat the fast-paced Mavericks in six games before taking care of the Nets. In the six-game Finals series, he posted 10.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.83 blocks and 1.17 steals per game.

"One of the greats we get a chance to say goodbye to, tonight, David Robinson, " NBA Commissioner David Stern said at the start of the trophy presentation. "Thank you."


John Stockton

Full Name: John Houston Stockton
Born: 3/26/62 in Spokane, Wash.
High School: Gonzaga Prep School (Spokane, Wash.)
College: Gonzaga
Drafted by: Utah Jazz, 1984
(16th overall) Height: 6-1 Weight: 175 lbs.
Honors: All-NBA First Team (1994, '95); All-NBA Second Team (1988, '89, '90, '92, '93, '96); All-NBA Third Team (1991, '97, '99); NBA All-Defensive Second Team (1989, '91, '92, '95, '97); 10-time NBA All-Star; Olympic gold medalist (1992, '96); One of 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996)

Some play a position exquisitely, just as it was designed. That would be John Stockton at point guard.

A fast, gritty, durable player who saw the floor as well as anyone who ever played the game, he left the NBA after 19 seasons with the Utah Jazz, holding a mass of assists records, including the career mark (15,806).

As Stockton giveth, he taketh away: He led the league in steals twice and, with a career total of 3,265, he retired as the NBA's all-time leader. He also played all 82 games in 17 of his 19 seasons and his career shooting percentage was .515, a remarkable statistic for a guard.

"There absolutely, positively, will never ever be another John Stockton – ever," said Karl Malone, Stockton's teammate for 18 seasons.

The Jazz never missed the playoffs during Stockton's career and they reached the Western Conference Finals five times in a seven-year span. The enduring image of Stockton is him sinking a buzzer-beating three-pointer over Houston's Charles Barkley in Game 6 of the 1997 Western Conference Finals, and then embracing Malone and Jeff Hornacek as they celebrated their first NBA Finals berth.

Utah went to consecutive NBA Finals, losing to the Chicago Bulls in six games in 1997 and 1998. After his final NBA game, a playoff loss in Sacramento on April 30, 2003, Stockton was asked to summarize his feelings about retiring without an NBA title.

"A lot of this about the journey," he said. "I'm sure there are people that have won championships who haven't had to work very hard at it. We worked very hard and haven't done it, and yet I feel a lot of reward out of the effort that it took to compete."

Stockton’s other assists records included most in a season (1,164), highest average for a season (14.5 apg) and most seasons leading league and most consecutive seasons leading league (nine). He also shared the record for most assists in a playoff game (24), had the second-highest assists average for a career (10.5 apg) and tied for third for most assists in a regular season game (28).

Famed UCLA basketball coach John Wooden once said Stockton was the NBA player he enjoyed watching the most and the only one he would pay to see. Hall of Fame coach Dr. Jack Ramsay called Stockton the ultimate team player and best point guard ever in the halfcourt.

Stockton did it all without fanfare. Sam Smith said it this way on ESPN.com: "He doesn't dribble behind his back or through his legs. He doesn't crossover. His highlight reel features primarily bounce passes and layups. Despite evidence to the contrary these days, that's basketball. He doesn't practice the no-look pass, but we'll all be poorer not able to watch him anymore."

Stockton was also known around the league for using his 6-1 body to set picks on much bigger players, absorbing the blows while freeing up teammates for baskets.

"It’s unfortunate we couldn’t keep statistics on screens," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "That’s one of the most important things he does for a team and that tells you a little bit about who he is and what he’s about -- to try to make somebody else better. He wasn’t screening midgets. The rules probably changed because of the way he set screens on big guys.”

His career accomplishments are even more impressive considering his modest basketball beginnings. Stockton played college ball at little-known Gonzaga University in his hometown of Spokane, Wash., where he averaged 20.9 points and 7.2 assists as a senior and finished as the first player in school history to register more than 1,000 points and 500 assists.

The Jazz selected Stockton with the 16th overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft, which also included Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan and Barkley. The following year, the Jazz drafted Malone. During their years together in the NBA, Stockton and Malone would become the most consistently productive guard-forward combination.

“He’s a great great friend of mine,” Stockton said of Malone, “and I’m thankful we're part of each other’s families.”

In an Athlon Sports article, Stockton's first coach in Utah, Frank Layden, admitted the Jazz did not know what they had when Stockton arrived. "Nobody thought that he was going to be this good," said Layden, who himself thought Stockton was a project. "Nobody. But the thing was, you couldn't measure his heart."

During his retirement ceremony at the Delta Center on June 7, 2003, Stockton thanked Layden for giving him some good advice early in his career. Specifically, Layden told Stockton never to change the person he was once he entered the league.

“I haven’t changed a thing. I haven’t even changed the length of my shorts,” joked Stockton, one of the only NBA players to ignore the trend toward long, baggy shorts in the 1990s.

Stockton posted his best statistics from 1988-89 through 1990-91, a period in which his combined scoring average was just better than 17 points and his assists average ranged from 13.6 to 14.5 per game. Also, in 1993-94 and 1994-95 he recorded the highest field-goal percentages among NBA guards.

He was also selected to the All-NBA First Team for the first time in 1994 and again in 1995. Stockton became the NBA’s all-time assists leader in 1994-95, surpassing Magic Johnson’s 9,921 dishes on Feb. 1 and topping the 10,000 mark for his career by season’s end. The following season, Stockton also surpassed Maurice Cheeks as the all-time record holder in steals. Through 1995-96, he led the NBA in assists for nine consecutive seasons, besting the record of eight set by Bob Cousy.

For the first two seasons of Stockton's career, he played behind the incumbent starting point guard, Rickey Green. Stockton, worried he would only last one NBA season, didn't make a significant purchase until he had been in Salt Lake City for four months and decided to get a television for his one-bedroom apartment so he could watch the Super Bowl.

The Jazz front office had the last laugh, however, when this diamond in the rough set club rookie records for steals (109) and assists ( 415) while earning votes toward the NBA All-Rookie Team.

He played in all 82 games and averaged 5.6 points in 18.2 minutes per game. Utah finished in a fourth-place tie in the Midwest Division, then upset the Houston Rockets in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Subsequently, the Jazz were overwhelmed by the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals.

The next season, Stockton's playing time increased to 23.6 mpg, as did his scoring and assists (7.7 ppg and 7.4 apg). This was Malone’s first season in Utah and his 14.9 points and 8.9 rebounds per game brought him NBA All-Rookie Team honors. The Jazz won one more game than they had the previous season, but they lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs.

Stockton's apprenticeship was over -- almost. He opened the 1986-87 season as a starter, but he platooned with Green. The tandem intimidated most of the clubs in the league. Stockton averaged 7.9 points and 8.2 assists in 22.7 minutes per game, while Green averaged 9.6 points and 6.7 assists in 25.8 minutes per game. The two combined for 287 steals, with Stockton’s 177 (2.16 per game) ranking eighth in the NBA.

Prior to that season, the Jazz had acquired Kelly Tripucka and Kent Benson in exchange for Adrian Dantley, the club’s scoring leader in each of the previous seven seasons. This paved the way for Malone to assume more of the scoring responsibilities. Malone's average shot up to 21.7 points per game, primarily on the strength on the pick-and-roll that he and Stockton orchestrated to perfection. The two formed a duet that brought about one of the most repeated -- and harmonious -- phrases from broadcasters in NBA annals: Stockton to Malone.

But not even Stockton and Malone -- known as the “The Mailman” since his college playing days -- could deliver a series victory in the NBA Playoffs. After Utah took two straight games from Golden State in a first-round series, the Warriors answered with three consecutive wins to end the Jazz’s season. Stockton shot a sizzling .621 from the field in the five games, averaging 10.0 points and 8.0 assists.

Before the 1987-88 campaign, the expansion franchise Charlotte Hornets selected Green in an expansion draft . Now, Stockton totally owned the point guard position in Utah and he responded in record fashion. The reliable Malone averaged 27.7 points and shot .520 from the floor, taking many of Stockton’s dishes and depositing them in the basket. The Jazz shot .491 as a club, one reason why the once-obscure Gonzaga product compiled a dazzling total of 1,128 assists, breaking the NBA record of 1,123 set by Detroit’s Isiah Thomas in the 1984-85 season.

Stockton averaged an astonishing 13.8 assists per game (a mark he would eclipse twice over the next three years), beginning a record string of nine consecutive assists titles. Although his passing skills were what put him on the NBA map, Stockton developed into a complete player. He ranked third in the NBA in steals (2.95 per game) and fourth in field-goal percentage (.574). He also averaged 14.7 points per game, nearly doubling his output of the previous season. His performance earned him a spot with Malone on the All-NBA Second Team.

The Jazz finished with a then franchise-best 47-35 record. They defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in a four-game first-round series, then locked horns with the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers before bowing in seven games. In Game 5, the Jazz lost 111-109, but Stockton dished out 24 assists, tying Magic's playoff record. In 11 postseason games, Stockton averaged 19.5 points and 14.8 assists per game.

In 1988-89, Stockton was selected to his first NBA All-Star Game when coaches added him to the Western Conference squad. After an 11-point, 17-assist performance, he finished second to Malone in the game’s Most Valuable Player voting.

Postseason honors rolled in as well for Stockton, who led the NBA in steals (3.21 per game) and assists (13.6 apg) while finishing 10th in field-goal percentage (.538). He was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team and the All-NBA Second Team. He also averaged 17.1 ppg, ranking him third on the Jazz behind Malone (29.1 ppg) and Thurl Bailey (19.5 ppg).

The team finished with an overall mark of 51-31, good enough for the Midwest Division crown. The Jazz were heavy favorites against the Chris Mullin-led Warriors in the first round of the playoffs, but despite a super performance by Stockton, Utah was eliminated in three straight games. Stockton averaged 27.3 points and 13.7 assists in the series.

Despite missing the first four games of his career in 1989-90, he broke his own single-season assist record, compiling 1,134 for the season and averaging an NBA record 14.5 per game. By reaching 1,000 total assists for the third straight season, Stockton became the first man ever to notch at least 1,000 more than two times. (He wouldn’t stop there, cementing his place in history by reaching four digits in assists in each of the next two seasons.)

For the third straight season, Stockton shot better than 50 percent (.514) from the field and racked up at least 200 steals (207). He averaged a career-high 17.2 ppg and was selected by the fans to start at guard in the NBA All-Star Game. At season’s end he was named to the All-NBA Second Team.

The Jazz slumped near the end of the season, and their woes continued into the first round of the playoffs. The Jazz fell to Phoenix in five games. Stockton shot only .420 from the field in the postseason, but averaged 15.0 points and 15.0 assists.

In 1990-91, Malone banged in 29.0 points per game on .527 shooting and newly acquired shooting guard Jeff Malone averaged 18.6 points on .508 shooting from the field, but Stockton was the player responsible for feeding the Malones the ball. He rang up another 1,000-assist season. For his efforts, he was selected by Western Conference coaches to the NBA All-Star Game for the third consecutive season.

Stockton’s season total of 1,164 assists in 82 games still stands as a single-season NBA record. He also tied a career high with 17.2 points per game and ranked second in the NBA with 2.85 steals per contest. He was named to the All-NBA Third Team at season’s end.

Stockton took care of rival point guard Kevin Johnson (All-NBA Second Team) and the Jazz handled Phoenix 3-1 in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. However, the Jazz didn’t have enough firepower to defeat Portland in the Western Conference Semifinals. Stockton had a tremendous postseason, averaging 18.2 points and 13.8 assists.

The next season, he notched his fifth consecutive assists title, recording 1,126 assists for a 13.7 average. On the final day of the season he edged past the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Micheal Williams for the NBA lead in steals (2.98 per game).

He made his fourth straight All-Star appearance, was named to the All-NBA Second Team and the NBA All-Defensive Second Team. After a slow start, Utah went 26-10 over the season’s final three months. The Jazz advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time ever after beating the Los Angeles Clippers and the Seattle SuperSonics.

However, Stockton and Co. fell just short of the NBA Finals after losing to Portland in six games. Stockton’s 16-game playoff averages were quite impressive: 14.8 points, 13.6 assists and 2.13 steals per game.

After the tough loss to the Blazers, Stockton and Malone joined the Dream Team at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. Although Stockton could not fully participate due to a broken leg, Malone and the rest of the team -- which also included Jordan, Magic and Larry Bird -- pushed the United States to the gold medal. Stockton and Malone would team up for Olympic gold again in 1996.

During the 1992-93 season, the Jazz played host to the NBA’s best when the All-Star Game came to Salt Lake City in 1993. Appropriately, Stockton and Malone were named the game’s co-MVPs. Malone had 28 points and 10 rebounds while Stockton contributed nine points and 15 assists in the West’s 135-132 overtime victory. Stockton led the way in the overtime period, scoring a pair of baskets and setting up two more as the West outscored the East 16-13 in the extra frame.

In 1993-94, Stockton joined some lofty company when he became only the third player in NBA history to record 9,000 career assists, behind only Magic (9,921) and Oscar Robertson (9,887). In addition to his league-leading assist average of 12.6, Stockton also contributed 15.1 points and 2.43 steals per game while shooting .528 from the floor.

He ranked fourth in the NBA in steals and led all guards in field-goal percentage. He played in his sixth consecutive NBA All-Star Game and was named to the All-NBA First Team for the first time in his career. Stockton’s continued excellence helped Utah get to the Western Conference Finals, where the Jazz lost to the Houston Rockets in five games.

After a quick exit against Houston in the 1995 playoffs and a loss to Seattle in the 1996 Western Conference Finals, Stockton and the Jazz had a breakthrough in the 1996-97 seaon, reaching the first of their two consecutive NBA Finals against Chicago.

Utah posted a franchise-best 64-18 record and won the Western Conference crown in 1996-97 and Stockton finished second to Mark Jackson in assists per game, ending his record streak of nine consecutive seasons leading the league. Stockton was voted to the West's starting lineup for the All-Star Game and had 12 points and five assists.

But the journey to the Finals was the real story of that season. In Utah's 20 playoff games, Stockton averaged 16.9 points, 9.6 assists and 1.65 steals per game. He had 26 points and 12 assists in Game 2 win of the Western Conference Finals against the Rockets. And scored 25 points, including the game-winning three-pointer over Barkley at the buzzer to win Game 6, which prompted a wild celebration.

In the NBA Finals, Stockton had 17 points and 12 assists as the Jazz took Game 3, 104-93. In Game 4, he came back with 17 points, including a crucial late three-pointer in the 78-73 victory that knotted the series. However, Jordan overcame a stomach flu to lead the Bulls to a 90-88 Game 5 win. Using that momentum, the Bulls closed out the Jazz in Game 6, 90-86 to win its fifth title.

Sidelined for the first 18 games of the 1997-98 season due to knee surgery, Stockton played every other game, finishing fifth in assists with 8.5 per game and helping the Jazz back to the NBA Finals. The Jazz, which had a regular season NBA-best record of 62-20 along with the Bulls, took Game 1 with a 88-85 overtime win.

However, it was déjà vu all over again, as the Bulls eventually defeated the Jazz in six games in successive years. The final blow came in Game 6 when Jordan stole the ball and made a jumper to seal the 87-86 win and the Bulls' sixth title in eight years.

In the lockout shortened 1998-99 season, the Jazz went 37-13, which again tied for the best record in the NBA. This time, the team shared the honors with the division rival San Antonio Spurs, the eventual champs. The Jazz lost to Portland in six games in the Conference Semifinals. The following year, the Blazers would defeat the Jazz in five games in that same round.

The team's winning percentage began to decline in the 2000-01 season, but individually Stockton bounced back to finish second in the league in assists (8.7apg), trailing the Suns' Jason Kidd (9.8 apg). For the next two seasons the team would play a little above .500 and make the playoffs. And as Stockton approached the age of 40 and beyond, he was as efficient as ever.

During his 18th season with Utah in 2001-02, he set a league record for most seasons with the same franchise. He also became just the 10th player in NBA history to play at the age of 40. Another milestone he reached that season was his 15,000th assist.

Stockton finished his career after the 2002-03 season having played in 1,504 games. That figure ranked third on the NBA's all-time list in games played, trailing Robert Parish (1,611) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,560). He also finished his career with 19, 711points for the 28th spot on the NBA's all-time scoring list.


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