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Front Page » May 6, 2003 » Sports » The Sports View
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The Sports View


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By KAREN BASSO
Sports writer

The end of an era is now a reality. Whoever thought that the Utah Jazz might have to do without John Stockton.

For 19 years, Jazz fans have become accustomed to watching Stock man the point guard position. Now, the team must rebuild what has been standing for so long on the hardwood floor.

Throughout his career, Stockton has made records and broke many more. His accomplishments are numerous, but the one thing that will remain in my mind about the talented athlete is his attitude towards the sport.

I think what has made Stockton a true sports legend is the fact that despite all the achievements he has made, the man does not reflect on his accomplishments. Rather, he is modest and realizes the fact that his teammates were as much a part of his accomplishments as he himself.

Thousands of interviews have been given to the outstanding athlete, but each one reads the same. Stockton is all business and does not compete in the trash talking wars.

For 19 years, the athlete has suited up night after night to compete and only missed but a handful of games in his long career. To Stockton, basketball wasn't about the showmanship, it was about taking his job seriously.

Many of today's professional athletes also get caught up in the spotlight and the hoopla that follows sports stars. But Stockton never got wrapped up in the hype.

And I believe that Stockton made the decision to retire knowing that he will not return for another run at the game. He is not the kind of athlete to go back on his word, nor is he the type of person to return to action just to make the headlines.

Looking back on Stockton's career, I have come to the realization that I do not admire the athlete for only his athleticism, rather I admire him for his ethics. Good old number 12 is truly a class act and is one of a kind.

This brings me to my big question, why can't today's athletes follow in Stockton's footsteps rather than idolizing an athlete who is in sports for the money and fame?

If athletes, both professional and non could respect their teammates and opponents while competing for the sheer joy of playing a sport, wouldn't athletic events be more enjoyable?

Wouldn't athletic events be more interesting if feuds and grudges were settled on the field or the court rather than on the sports segment of the news each night?

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the trash talking when it comes to professional wrestling, but then again this is a sport that thrives on this type of behavior. Other sports such as basketball or baseball does not however.

All I can say is thanks to Stockton for all the memories and for the outstanding sportsmanship he has displayed for so many years. He has truly set a positive example for young athletes to follow.


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