Basketball player John Stockton isn’t just widely regarded as one of the best point guards in basketball history; he was also named to the NBA’s 50th anniversary “All-Time Team” recognizing the 50 greatest players to ever play the game. In his 19-year career, Stockton was a ten-time All Star and won gold medals in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. Since he left the game in 2003, the Utah Jazz have retired his number, Salt Lake City named a street after him, and he’s been inducted into the basketball hall of fame. Today, standing in front of the arena where he played his home games is a statue bearing his likeness. Few players have ever reached the heights that Stockton did during his time as a player. He’s one of the best who ever played.
But Stockton didn’t garner those accolades as a scorer. In fact, in terms of total number of points scored by a player in their career, Stockton barely makes the list of the top 50 (he comes in at #46). Where Stockton made his mark was in dishing out assists. For non-basketball fans, a player is credited with an assist when they pass the ball to a teammate in a way that leads to a score. Stockton made 15,806 such passes over his career, more than any other player and almost 4,000 more than his closest competition.
When it came to helping teammates score, nobody in the history of the game did it as well as Stockton.
Individual achievement is just one path to greatness. If you can’t be the best at what you do, maybe you can be the best at helping others be the best?
Everyone can be an assist leader in something.
P.S. Stockton also holds the NBA record for career steals by a considerable margin. But it’s a lot harder to draw an appropriate college admissions comparison to taking the ball away from an opponent.