Sunday, January 12, 2014

Book Review: Assisted, the Autobiograpy of John Stockton


That's five stars: A grade befitting the book and the author.

This book shows you what you always suspected - that John Stockton is a great man, a humble man, a family man.    From the Naismith Hall of Fame, to the 1992 Olympic Dream Team, to the all time record holder for assists and steals, Stockton was the best pure point guard ever.

What does the book focus on?  His doubts, his worries, his uncertainty.  Why did he have to stay so fit?  Why did he try so hard?  Why did he stay with the same team his entire career?  Why did he always play even if he was sick?

He writes mostly about others - those who guided him and taught him.  He teaches us the best lessons he learned from his father, friends, coaches, owners, and teammates.  Stockton brings you into his life.  He lets you get to know him and his family, including all six of his kids.

He tells great stories: After he won the gold medal with the dream team in 1992, it took less than 4 hours for one of his sons to swing the gold medal around and around his finger till it flew off and got dinged on a metal cabinet.  4 hours to put a dent in a Dream Team Gold Medal, gotta love family (and he did).

Stockton quickly fired the only lawyer he ever hired for NBA contracts.  When he was drafted by the Utah Jazz he found out shortly after that he was "being difficult" and contract negotiations were falling through.  Stockton didn't know why so he went straight to the Jazz owner himself.  The two sat down together and in about 30 minutes they shook hands as a contract was signed.
That's how Stockton did all his contract negotiations - in person, alone, with the owner.  When the owner offered to make him the highest paid point guard in the NBA - Stockton declined,  He said "put me somewhere in the middle of the pack."

Why did he wear short shorts?  Because that's what he was first handed as a uniform, and he had no reason to change.  That's who he was.  You show up and you get the job done.  No complaining, no entitlements, just work and values.

Stockton teaches you in this book how to be a great father, a great teammate, and a great man. I loved it.

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