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Honoring John Stockton

Rep. Christopher H. Shays

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Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution (H. Res. 274) honoring John Stockton for an outstanding career, congratulating him on his retirement, and thanking him for his contributions to basketball, to the State of Utah, and to the Nation.

The Clerk read as follows:

Whereas John Stockton is the all-time leader in assists in the history of the National Basketball Association; Whereas Stockton ranks among the top point guards in basketball and was selected in 1996 as one of the ``50 Greatest Players in National Basketball Association History''; Whereas Stockton is the league's all-time leader in steals, ending his career with an incredible 3,265 steals; Whereas Stockton loyally played all 19 of his NBA seasons with the Utah Jazz in an era dominated by free agency and propelled his team to the NBA playoffs during each of those years; Whereas Stockton won two gold medals as a member of the United States men's basketball ``Dream Team'' in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona and the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta; Whereas Stockton has been a perennial All-Star, All-NBA selection, and has made the NBA All-Defensive Team three times; Whereas Stockton's commitment to being part of a team made him successful both on the court and off as a dedicated husband to his wife, Nada, and father to his six children; Whereas Stockton's sportsmanship and commitment to basketball made him a hero to millions of Americans, especially those in his dual hometowns, Salt Lake City, Utah and Spokane, Washington; Whereas Stockton had a reputation as a true team player who brought out the best in his teammates; and Whereas, on June 7, 2003, tens of thousands of fans attended a retirement celebration in Salt Lake City, Utah: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives-- (1) honors John Stockton for an outstanding career; (2) congratulates John Stockton on his retirement; and (3) thanks John Stockton for his contributions to basketball, to the State of Utah, and to the Nation.

Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Shays) and the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Davis) each will control 20 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Shays).

Rep. Christopher H. Shays

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Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks on H. Res. 274.

Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Connecticut?

There was no objection.

Rep. Christopher H. Shays

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Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, House Resolution 274 honors John Stockton for a truly outstanding career and congratulates him on his retirement.

This body generally spends very little time honoring basketball players, but today we honor a player who truly deserves extra commemoration.

When he retired last summer from the National Basketball Association's Utah Jazz, John Stockton finished his career as the league's all time leader in both assists and steals. Astonishingly, he totaled 15,806 assists and 3,265 steals during his Hall of Fame-caliber career. He was a 10-time NBA All Star and a member of the first and second ``Dream Teams,'' the gold medal-winning 1992 and 1996 U.S. Olympic men's basketball teams.

Stockton played 19 years for the Utah Jazz, which is also an all-time NBA record for most years played for one franchise. Even more remarkable than his longevity and loyalty, he helped lead the Jazz into the playoffs following every one of his 19 NBA seasons.

Along with his record of most overall assists, 15,806, Stockton holds the record for most assists in a season, 1,164, and the highest assist average in a season, 14.5 per game. He is second all-time to Magic Johnson in assists per game during a career with 10.5. He once distributed 28 assists in one game. In a 48-minute ball game, that is nearly unthinkable. In comparison, the current NBA leader in assists averages under 10 per game.

As I mentioned, Stockton is also the NBA's all-time leader in steals with 3,265. He recorded over 700 more steals during his NBA tenure than the second place player had, a gentleman by the name of Michael Jordan.

Mr. Speaker, I urge this House to congratulate one of the NBA's most outstanding players ever, John Stockton, on the occasion of his retirement from the NBA, and I thank the gentleman from Utah (Mr. Matheson) for his work to honor John Stockton.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Danny K. Davis

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Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, when John Stockton broke the career record for assists, 9,922, the owner of his team, the Utah Jazz, suggested he should set his career goal at 15,000. Such an idea was laughable, even preposterous to some. John Stockton, though, retired at the end of the 2002 and 2003 season with 15,806 career assists.

Success in American professional sports is often defined by statistics. Mr. Stockton is a match for anyone. In addition to being the NBA's all-time leader in assists with more than 50 percent more than the next highest player, Stockton also holds the league record for steals in a career with more than 3,200.

He is a 10-time all star and was selected as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history.

What sets John Stockton apart from most athletes, however, is his sense of team. Mr. Stockton played for 19 seasons. And due in large part to his excellence, the Jazz made the playoffs in every one of those seasons. He is a two-time Olympic gold medalist. No player spent as many years in games with only one team. And, remember, those 15,000 assists means 15,000 easy baskets for his teammates. That is not bad, especially since Stockton was considered too small to succeed when he was drafted out of Gonzaga in 1984.

John Stockton is such a consummate team player that it is almost impossible to talk about him without also mentioning Karl Malone, Stockton's teammate and partner for 18 seasons. Malone's status as the NBA's second all-time leading scorer is directly attributable to the thousands of passes Stockton threw him over the years. In June, when Stockton retired, Malone gave this testimonial to his teammate, and I quote: ``I hope and I pray people here realize a couple of things,'' said Malone. ``There absolutely, positively will never, ever be another John Stockton. Ever. He gave me more than I gave him.''

Stockton is also a family man, a father of six. He is the sort of man who once signed a contract for millions less than he would have received on the open market so that he could secure ice time at Salt Lake City's Delta Center for his 7-year-old son's hockey team. In an era when far too many athletes and other public figures put selfish motives and personal glory foremost in their actions, a consummate teammate, unselfish player, and quiet superstar like John Stockton is well deserving of this resolution in his honor. He is indeed a role model to be emulated by others along the way.

The gentleman from Utah (Mr. Matheson), who is the sponsor of this resolution, had wanted to be here but, unfortunately, could not get back in time to speak, so, Mr. Speaker, he will submit his statement into the Record at the appropriate point.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

Rep. Christopher H. Shays

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Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Utah (Mr. Bishop).

Rep. Rob Bishop

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Mr. Speaker, I thank my two colleagues, the gentleman from Utah (Mr. Matheson), for introducing this resolution and the dean of our delegation (Mr. Cannon), for working with the majority leadership for the timing and the scheduling of this particular resolution.

I do not intend to pretend that I was a close personal friend of the Stocktons, but I did have several occasions to be with them, usually on public occasions. The one that I remember the clearest was sharing the owner's box at the opening game of the new triple A baseball stadium that we have in Salt Lake City. At that time, Mr. Stockton was there with his wife and his young family. One of the reporters from the Salt Lake paper came up and begged for a picture of the entire family to use on the society page for the beginning of this baseball season. John Stockton refused. He refused to have a picture of his family, his wife and his little kids there, because he did not want to expose his family to the kind of publicity that goes along with professional sports and professional athletes. I was impressed with that.

The second thing about that entire evening that I was impressed with, that even though I thought it was a wonderful baseball game, as all baseball games are, even though it was fascinating, when it hit a certain time, even though there were still three innings to go, he insisted on leaving because it was bedtime for his three kids, and the most important thing for him was not his public persona, but that his family had a commitment. I was impressed with that.

It is difficult or unusual at any time to have any kind of honor for John Stockton without mentioning Karl Malone along with it, but in this case I think we will have to wait until Mr. Malone retires until that honor continues on, and then we will probably have to share that with most of the California delegation at the same time.

But on the retirement of John Stockton, I am proud of him because he established those old-fashioned values of hard work and commitment to family ahead of himself, a commitment to others ahead of himself, which is why he is the all-time assist leader. And it shows the personality that this gentleman has, and what he has done as a symbol and also as somebody we can emulate in the State of Utah. We appreciate his efforts on behalf of the Utah Jazz, especially what he has done as a symbol of a sports figure who does everything right, and his commitment to bringing standards of personal integrity to the world of athletics. I appreciate this opportunity to just voice my support of this particular resolution for a fine gentleman.

Rep. Christopher H. Shays

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Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Coble). I do not know why a gentleman from North Carolina wants to speak on this issue, so I am going to be waiting to hear his every word.

Rep. Howard Coble

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Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from the nutmeg land of Connecticut for yielding me this time.

I am not sure how I became a fan, but I will say this: the words ``Stockton to Malone'' are synonymous words with winning basketball. And to watch those two guys play was not unlike, I say to the gentleman from Connecticut, watching a ballet. I mean Malone would haul down the rebound, dish off to Stockton, Stockton would very methodically and effectively move the ball into the front court and then, before you know it, the ball from Stockton back to Malone, and then Malone buried the shot. It was winning basketball, and it was unselfish basketball.

My good friend, the chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Mr. Speaker, Senator Orrin Hatch, knows that I am a Jazz fan. He said one day, Howard, I am going to get you out there as my guest. Well, it was not the Senator's fault, nor was it my fault, but we never got to go. Now, as a result of that, Malone has gone to another team, and Stockton has retired. And when you procrastinate, I say to the gentleman from Connecticut, it comes back to bite you. It was no one's fault.

Finally, and I do not mean this to be a negative note, but many Jazz fans, including yours truly, believe that a no-call in a game that involved, I believe the Chicago Bulls and the Jazz, to what most Jazz fans conclude was an obvious foul, with which I am in agreement, but it was not called, the whistle did not sound. And I think the Bulls went on to win that game. Ugh, you are right; ``ugh'' is correct. And many Jazz fans to this day relive that no-call, as I do.

But what a great tribute to a great basketball player. My friend mentioned Stockton's many attributes. I think he is the all-time leader in steals and assists, destined for the Hall of Fame, I am sure. But I commend my colleagues for doing this resolution for John Stockton. I hope the gentleman from Connecticut now knows why I am a Jazz fan.

Rep. Christopher H. Shays

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Mr. Speaker, I do know. I was touched by the gentleman's comments. But I feel that the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Davis), who yielded back time, may want to be yielded some time to talk about that no-call and explain what the heck happened, so I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Davis) to explain how the Bulls won that game.

Rep. Danny K. Davis

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Mr. Speaker, what was happening is that the Bulls were moving so fast until the referee just could not see what was happening.

Rep. Christopher H. Shays

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Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for explaining why that call was never made.

Rep. Jim Matheson

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Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the achievements of John Stockton, one of the greatest basketball players in the history of the sport. I would like to thank the leadership and the committee for their consideration of this bipartisan resolution, which I had the honor of introducing along with my colleague from Washington, Mr. Nethercutt.

John Stockton and his nineteen years with the Utah Jazz are forever linked in the memories of countless fans, both in my home state of Utah and throughout the nation. Stockton's outstanding career and the example he set for young people in this country did us all proud.

When Stockton announced his retirement at the end of the 2002-2003 season, tens of thousands of fans attended a celebration in his honor at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City last June. Not only were they celebrating his achievements as a player, these fans turned out to thank John Stockton for his loyalty to the Utah Jazz in an era dominated by free agency.

As the all-time leader in assists in the NBA's history, John Stockton always put his team first. He was also the league's all-time leader in steals, ending his career with an amazing 3,265 steals and he was selected in 1996 as one of the 50 Greatest Players in National Basketball Association History.'

John Stockton gave fans everywhere someone to emulate both on and off the basketball court, especially those in his dual hometowns, Salt Lake City, Utah and Spokane, Washington. Stockton's commitment to his family, to the community, and to the states of Utah and Washington are to be commended and honored.

Rep. Christopher H. Shays

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Mr. Speaker, I have no other speakers, so I yield back the balance of my time and ask for a positive vote on this very important resolution.

Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest

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The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Shays) that the House suspend the rules and agree to the resolution, H. Res. 274.

The question was taken; and (two-thirds having voted in favor thereof) the rules were suspended and the resolution was agreed to.

A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.