Hall of Fame point guard John Stockton attends a Utah Jazz game at Vivint Smart Home Arena on Nov. 22, 2019.
Nick Bolerjack

John Stockton weighs in on the return of the Purple Mountain jerseys and the Utah Jazz's offseason moves

by Aaron Falk

It took 20 years, but John Stockton has come around on the Utah Jazz’s purple mountain jerseys.

The Hall of Fame point guard wasn’t a fan of the uniform change when it happened back in the late 1990s. But as he watched his team play in that throwback look on Friday night at Vivint Smart Home Arena, Stockton said he was glad to see those classic threads return.

Even if it felt a little surreal.

“I am [glad they’re back],” Stockton said when joined the Utah Jazz broadcast on Friday night. “It’s a little confusing. Usually, when we peruse the crowd and see purple, it’s one of our jerseys. Now you look up and you see Donovan’s number all over the place. It’s a little different.”

The jerseys, however, aren’t the only changes the team made this year that Stockton liked.

“They sure picked up some guys I like,” he said. “Certainly, Mike Conley’s a guy I’ve enjoyed watching for years from a distance. I think he’s a tremendous competitor and a great addition to the team.”

Stockton said he hadn’t seen much of Bojan Bogdanovic before this season, but he has noticed something about the new Jazzman.

“He just doesn’t seem to miss many shots,” Stockton said.

Stockton also had high praise for Jazz head coach Quin Snyder.

“He’s fun to watch coach,” Stockton said. “He’s into it. He’s smart and the guys are prepared. He’s doing a heck of a job.”

By the time Stockton joined the broadcast in the second half Friday night, the Jazz and Warriors had combined for more than 25 attempts from 3-point. That’s one change Stockton said he’s still getting used to watching when he turns on a modern NBA game. The point guard averaged just 1.5 attempts from 3 per game during his illustrious career.

“I wasn’t mindful of those types of things when I was playing,” he said. “I was just trying to make the right play at the right time. Whatever presented itself. My nature is to pass a little bit more, but I’d like to think I’d find whatever was there. So if you get wide-open 3s and nobody gets to touch you, that would be fun.”

Stockton said he believed his teammate, Hall of Fame forward Karl Malone, would have added a 3-point shot to his game if there had been more emphasis on it during his career. At any rate, Stockton said, Malone would have still found a way to thrive in the modern game.

“I think he’d score 100 points a night. I don’t see anybody who can guard him,” Stockton said. “… The thing that people don’t understand is all the 3-point shooters who were guarding him would all be fouled out of the game.”


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