The 2009 Hall of Fame Class boasts three spectacular players and among them the eternal face of the Utah Jazz, John Stockton.
Drafted 16th overall in 1984, John Stockton went on to become a legend of the game.
He played the game of basketball with the definition of old school—physical, hard-knocking, outspoken, and tough. He was fearless, and the truest floor general possible in the sense of the word. From Aloysius, to Gonzaga, to Utah he never changed.
Through nineteen seasons in the NBA, John Stockton never adjusted the height of his "short" shorts and never stopped competing. Regarded as one of the all-time greats of the game, and by many one of the top three point guards in NBA history, Stockton will receive a well-deserved accolade by being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The 6'2" general truly embodied old school basketball, even stemming from the fact that he stayed with one franchise throughout his entire NBA career—a feat not commonly completed by the modern superstars of today.
He was a battler with unbelievable court vision and passing ability, a fearless defender with a no-nonsense work ethic and approach to the game. He could score (not that he needed to), and put on a pick-and-roll clinic for nineteen seasons.
An original member of the 1992 Olympic Dream Team, Stockton formed what is regarded as arguably the greatest duo of all-time with fellow Jazz legend Karl Malone. He would go on to help lead the Utah Jazz to nineteen straight appearances in the playoffs, not missing the post-season a single year since his rookie season.
Perhaps the greatest highlight of Stockton's career came when he buried a buzzer-beating three-pointer over Charles Barkley's Rockets to send the Utah Jazz to the first of two NBA Finals appearances in 1997 and 1998.
Who could forget the endless Sportscenter replays of Stockton's heroic shot:
"Russell, to Stockton...Stockton for three...Stock, got it! Unbelievable! John Stockton! John Stockton! It's over! The Jazz win it! Utah goes to Chicago!"
While a man named Michael can be blamed for the elusive NBA Championship which evaded John Stockton on both his trips to the Finals, he was certainly not the first legend to be robbed by Jordans' Bulls and his legacy is still monumental.
Stockton retired in 2003 as the NBA's all-time leader in both assists and steals, and amassed ten NBA All-Star appearances, two Olympic Gold Medals, eleven All-NBA selections, and five NBA All-Defensive selections.
The fact that he retired at age forty and played a total of 1,504 out of 1,526 games over his career is a testament to his durability and toughness.
ESPN picked Stockton as the fourth greatest point guard of all-time, Sports Illustrated claiming him at six on their rankings. His number twelve has already been immortalized by the Utah Jazz, and now he takes his rightful place in Springfield.
Here's to the legendary John Stockton, the definition of old school.