John Stockton, The Last Pioneer of Short Shorts August 16, 2007Posted by Marquis Chapman in Basketball, NBA, Sports.
Most fans know John Stockton as the all time assist record holder or as the ying to Karl Malone’s yang. Stockton is regarded as one of the greatest point guards of all time, but he was so much more. Many NBA fans may not realize that John Stockton was a true pioneer.
We live in an era where “keeping it real” is a must, but before Allen Iverson was staying true to himself and not changing for anyone or anything, there was John Stockton. Stockton is the epitome of keeping it real and staying true to oneself. When the league started getting younger and the shorts started to get baggier, Stockton still wore those infamous short shorts.
In the early 90’s, Jordan was the trendsetter for the baggy shorts and it caught on like wildfire. Before long, everyone was rocking the shorts just above the knee, and sometimes longer. Even Stockton’s teammate Karl Malone made the change. Not Stockton, he refused to sell out and kept his shorts 3 to 5 inches above the knees. Not because he wanted to be different, but because that’s just who he was. From 1984 to 2003, Stockton’s shorts remained the same. While the style of the uniform may have changed, the length was never touched.
Eventually, Stockton became the only player in the entire league that was still wearing short shorts. With his teammate Jeff Hornacek retiring, Stockton became the last pioneer for short shorts. I remember tuning into Utah Jazz games, back when the NBA was on NBC, and just waiting to see if Stockton would be wearing slightly baggier shorts. But, there was Stockton, distrubuting the ball, making good decisions, with the same shorts on, not even an inch longer in length.
When asked about his shorts, Stockton simply stated, “To be honest, for the first 15 years, I didn’t know we had a say in it. I figured shorts are shorts, I’ve never had a say in what size the shorts were since I was a little kid. I was lucky I wasn’t wearing my brother’s most of the time, it’s just what you have. It came to a surprise when people were making fun of me, ‘I can change them?’ And I didn’t want to at that point, they were comfortable. Styles are going to come and go. I think it’s easier to stay with what you’re comfortable with.”
John Stockton… A true pioneer indeed.