As both college and NFL football dominate the headlines, it’s important that we take a minute to salute two Utah legends who received their dues this last week. Former Utah Jazz point guard John Stockton and current Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan were inducted into the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. along with Michael Jordan and David Robinson.
The wiry point guard from Spokane, Wash. needs no introduction to Utah Jazz fans. His NBA career spanned nearly 20 years, all of which came in Salt Lake City. Teaming up with fellow Jazzman and future Hall of Famer Karl Malone, Stockton piled up 15,806 assists, enough to place him as the all-time assist leader.
As if that wasn’t enough to solidify his spot in Springfield, he is also the all-time NBA leader in steals with 3,265. With his short shorts and big heart, Stockton led Utah to the finals in back-to-back-years, 1997 and 1998, and was a 10-time NBA All Star. Jazz fans across the state will also never forget his three-point shot over Charles Barkley and the Houston Rockets that sent his team to the NBA Finals for the first time in its history.
Heading into the Hall of Fame along side Stockton will be his coach and mentor, Jerry Sloan. In stints with the Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz, Sloan has won over 1,000 games and counting. He led the Jazz to 15 straight playoff appearances including two finals. He is also the longest tenured coach in all of professional sports as he heads into his 22nd year with the Jazz.
Sloan also had a productive playing career with the Bulls. As a tough, hard-nosed player, Sloan carried his toughness with him as he became a coach. Malone, who also spent the majority of his career playing under Sloan, will join the two Jazz legends as soon as he becomes eligible for the honor.