Stockton on Dream Team practices: “It was magic”

Two years after John Stockton and Karl Malone met at the 1984 Olympic Trials, they reunited in Utah and the first place they went was the
zoo.

“Like I did after I was drafted they [Utah Jazz] bring you in to kind of meet some of the players and get a look at the city, where you’re going to be living in,” Stockton told Rome. “Only I was one of those players when he came in. I think I even may have asked him ‘Hey, what do you want to do, you want to go to the zoo?’ He wasn’t very recognizable at the time and I certainly wasn’t. We walked all around the zoo and enjoyed the day looking at the animals.”

The Hall of Famer also addressed the style of shorts he made famous,the very short ones. That look wasn’t by choice, but rather something he claimed the team just kept giving him.

“They just kept giving me the shorts, I was just glad to have a uniform. I never complained about a shorts or lengths of jerseys or anything else I was glad they let me play,” said Stockton. “Later in my career, finally Terry Clark our equipment manager and trainer said hey ‘You want to add a couple inches to the inseem of that?’ and ‘I said you can do that?’.”

The league’s all-time leader in assists and steals also said his career was absolutely complete having never won a title.

“I felt like I laid it all out there for 19 years,” said Stockton.

“You don’t always achieve the goals that you shoot for. Maybe if I would have won one, I’d think now that I’d accomplished something and my life would be over. But hopefully I’m looking ahead and thinking there’s bigger and better things that I’m expected to do. Hopefully, I can reach one of those.”

Stockton, one of the last players cut from the 1984 Olympic team, also reflected on one of the lowest points in his career, when he fractured his fibula at the Tournament of America’s with the Dream Team.

“I remember that pit in my stomach,” said the 10-time All Star. “I was sitting there at dinner that night. I’d just gotten the x-rays that said my leg was broken and Coach Daly mentioned to me at dinner, he was going to have to replace me. Talk about reliving a bad memory from’84, that’s exactly how it felt.”
Stockton recovered to play with the team and said that his favorite memories didn’t come from the games.

“I remember the practices, and not in the way most people hear about it,” said Stockton. “It was magic. There were no plays, there were no whistles, the ball was rolled out and if one person cut, the other guy would make a corresponding cut. The passes were on time and on target. It was really fluid offense and aggressive defense being played and yet it was without design. These guys were so intuitive and such basketball players that it was really a pleasure to be a part of it.”

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