News Column

12/12/12 Brings Tribute to Legendary No. 12: John Stockton Day

Dec 13, 2012

Jim Burton

Because 12 was the number of the day Wednesday, the Utah Jazz started a social media campaign to have a little fun and declare it "John Stockton Day."

After all, the Hall of Fame point guard's No. 12 jersey hangs in the rafters at EnergySolutions Arena and was on prominent display during the Jazz's nationallytelevised game with the San Antonio Spurs.

Appropriately, Stockton once dished out a record 28 assists against the Spurs back in 1991.

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich wasn't around then, but that didn't keep him from fawning all over the NBA's all-time assist leader prior to Wednesday's game.

"It was fun watching him," Popovich said. "If he was playing I'd just be staring at him. He and Karl (Malone). I wouldn't notice anything else."

With the calendar showing 12/12/12, it naturally became a day to think about Stockton.

A Twitter campaign started in the morning and later in the day Jazz CEO Greg Miller sent out a tweet reading, "Had a nice visit with John Stockton on this 12-12-12. Thanked him for all he's done for our family, organization and community."

Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin was a teammate of Stockton's for part of three seasons.

"I tell you what, he was one of the toughest competitors I played against as an opponent and as a teammate," he said. "(He) understood completely who had to be and how he had to be to be effective on the floor. A true, true professional."

--HE KNOWS THE SPURS: As a kid Enes Kanter loved to watch his favorite player, ex-Jazz center Mehmet Okur, and often that meant seeing him go against the Spurs' legendary big man Tim Duncan.

"Every time the Utah Jazz would play against San Antonio, I would watch because of Mehmet Okur," Kanter said. "Every time the Utah Jazz played against him, I watched."

Like Okur, Kanter grew up in Turkey, which is why he idolized the 3-point-shooting power forward. But in watching all those Jazz-Spurs games he learned a lot from Duncan.

"I picked up lots of things from him: his footwork, his defense, his offense," Kanter said. Kanter, 20, and Duncan, 36, shared the court Wednesday night. Being 16 years younger, Kanter said his best chance against Duncan is to use his youth and quickness against him. Strength, too. "(I am) just more powerful," he said. Asked before the game if he had any memories of the David Robinson-Tim Duncan Spurs winning the 2003 NBA title, Kanter said he didn't see any of it. "I was too young, but I remember the highlights on or something," he said.

Source: (c)2012 the Standard-Examiner (Ogden, Utah). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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