Thursday, December 26, 2013


by John Stockton
349 pgs

I was 11 years old when John Stockton was drafted by the Jazz and I was 30 when he decided to hang up his sneakers. That's 19 years worth of Jazz memories that are indelibly associated with the Hall of Fame point guard from Spokane, Washington. I remember dozens of game winning shots he made for the team, including, of course "The Shot." I remember the countless no-look passes he made threading the needle between defenders into the hands of Malone driving to the basket for a hammer dunk. I remember the hard screens he'd set on opponents double his size that would free up his teammate for an open shot at the basket. He was a gritty player who teammates loved, and opponents couldn't stand to play against.

Assisted offers a surprisingly candid insight into the life and career of a man who was notorious for his disdain for fame and the spotlight as well as his insistence on privacy for himself and his family. The irony of him writing his autobiography is significant and not lost on him as the author.

First off, and importantly, it's very apparent that the book was written by Stockton, and not some professional writer hired to do it. It's written in a frank and direct manner, without embellishment and without any sense of pride and bravado. Not very surprising coming from Stockton.

He spends a significant amount of time describing his background, his family life growing up, and his years of schooling at the hands of Catholic nuns. Unsurprisingly he describes his love for sports and competition from an early age. He tells of his early association with great coaches, who instilled in him a sense of discipline and excellence that carried over into every athletic activity he participated in.

My favorite parts of the book deal of course with his years with the Jazz and his two Olympic experiences. I especially enjoyed the insights into his teammates, coaches, and the team's ownership that he included in the book.

I don't read much non-fiction and very few biographies. I'm usually just not that interested in other peoples' lives. But Stockton is someone whose life I found very interesting. I admired him as a basketball player for 19 years, and now after finally getting an insight into his life, I admire him even more.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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