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Whatever Happened to the "Team First" Mentality?

Will HowardCorrespondent INovember 9, 2008

With the 16th pick in the 1984 NBA draft, the Utah Jazz select...John Stockton, PG, from Gonzaga.

Oh, the days of a team selecting a player, then managing to keep him for his career are long gone. This is true in any sport.

The days of a player having a "team first" mentality are gone.

John Stockton defined the team first mentality. Not only did he spend his entire career with the Jazz, but he finished as the greatest passer and thief in NBA history. Add in a .515 shooting percentage and being probably the best leader of any team in sports history, all this and being the "wing man" to the Mailman.

Stockton is the best team player in sports history. He gave his life to being a giver, and a teammate. He missed only 22 games over the course of his career, often times playing hurt without anyone, including his teammates and coach Jerry Sloan, knowing.

He was a defensive standout and never cared much for accolades.

When the time comes that another player fits the Stockton role, it won't be soon enough. A player like him is rare, so very, very rare in a time where money talks, and players walk over the smallest bit of drama.

Stockton lived his career for his team, and if more players followed the path of his size 13's, then any league, and any sport, would be far better off.

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