What LeBron James Could Learn From John Stockton

Scott LambsonContributor IIIJuly 11, 2010

What could the self appointed "Chosen One" learn from a guy like John Stockton?

A lot.

But for the sake of this article we will narrow it down to one quality trait.


We all know loyalty can be a rare commodity these days, but for the NBA's elite, loyalty is usually not a problem. Superstars may threaten to jump ship from time to time as Kobe most recently did in LA, but most of the time, as in Kobe's case, they stay.

The reason I have selected to use John Stockton in this article is because he surprisingly shares much in common with "The Chosen One."

For starters, they both played in similar markets, in Salt Lake City and Cleveland. Both cities have not won NBA championships and Stockton and Lebron were seen as players who could help the city finally achieve that goal.

Both Stockton and Lebron represented the USA as part of their own "Dream Team's."

Both Stockton and Lebron will share Hall of Fame honors at some point in the future.

Both Stockton and Lebron have never won an NBA title.

So why was it so easy for John Stockton to remain loyal to Utah for 19 years while Lebron jumped ship after only seven seasons in Cleveland?

You can't say that Stockton wasn't coveted by many an organization in his Jazz tenure. Quite the opposite in fact, as Stockton did turn down potential big money contracts as well as the chance to play in bigger markets with more athletic players.

Most memorable in my mind was the year his contract was to expire and the Miami Heat were prepared to pay him five times what he was making in Utah when he became a free agent later that summer. When Stockton was asked about it after a game late in the season, Stockton simply said, "I could care less, I'm loyal to Utah and always will be." He wasn't kidding.

Stockton was one of those players who always admitted that NBA players like himself were way over paid, and that the least he could do was to be loyal to the owner and fans that made is salary what is was.

Can you imagine John Stockton hooking up with ESPN in a show called "The Decision," where Stockton announces that he is leaving Utah to play with Dream Team buddies Jordan and Scottie in Chicago because those two represented the fast track to winning a title?

Laughable right? But that is exactly what "The Chosen One" did a few days ago.

No, Stockton chose to battle it out with the franchise that was loyal to him.

Stockon, along with Malone took names like Ostertag, Russell, and Hornacek, and put Utah on the NBA map. Stockton led small market Utah to play in two of the greatest NBA finals ever, and although he didn't win, he cemented his legacy by his performance and loyalty to the franchise.

LeBron? Well he gave seven years to Cleveland, took them to one finals, but now it's time to worry about LeBron and his need to win.

It's time for LeBron to take his image and his brand name to a bigger, flashier, city. After all, his buddies are there.

The sad thing about Lebron, is that he was from Ohio, and on national TV he stabbed them right in the back.

Who cares how many titles Lebron wins in D-Wade's city? Honestly, who cares?

In Utah, we may have zero titles, but as a loyal Jazz fan, I wouldn't trade 20 years of a loyal John Stockton, for one title, led by a guy named "The Chosen One."


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.