Kelly Olynyk missed playing with John Stockton by more than a decade. The Utah Jazz legend retired in 2003, while the current Jazz forward entered the NBA in 2013. However, Kelly had a chance to share the court with John, and he was impressed by his skills despite being well into his 50s.
He doesn’t miss midrange jumpers
Stockton has hosted several pickup games in the Warehouse Athletic Facility, where participants were handpicked. The secretive nature of games bodes well with the ultra-private point guard. Kelly Olynyk revealed he had played in some games in the past. He shared that the NBA’s record holder in assists and steals had not lost his touch even after all these years away from the game.
“When you go and play with him, he’s one of those guys that he doesn’t miss mid-range jumpers. He’s just so good with the ball, so good with his eyes. He’s so strong — so strong setting screens on the ball, can’t bump him off the ball. But he’s a competitor, he loves to play.” Olynyk shared with SI.
Well, it looked like Stockton had defeated Father Time based on the observations of the 10-year veteran. In the article, the pickup games usually drew up to 40 participants consisting of former college players from the area. Olynyk was a star for Gonzaga, averaging 17.8 points in his final year in the 2012-13 season.
What sets John Stockton apart from the rest
The Hall of Famer point guard may have made the headlines in recent months due to controversial issues, but that doesn’t take away the fact that he remains one of basketball’s all-time greats.
As Olynyk revealed, John still got it decades after retiring from the sport. He has taken care of his body and didn’t do anything that could put his health in peril. A layup and a 360 dunk are counted as two points just the same. Stockton’s brand of playing tough defense and efficient playmaking may have failed to enter nightly highlights on ESPN while still playing, but it did him a favor by prolonging his career.
John Stockton’s game was steady compared to young stars today, such as Ja Morant, who puts his career at risk with acrobatic attempts. Here’s to hoping Morant wouldn’t suffer the same fate Derrick Rose had when he was at his peak.
Stockton’s longevity allowed him to rack up assists and steals that are practically beyond anyone’s reach today. Being fancy is one thing, but a true legend of the game takes care of his body because that’s where his bread and butter is.