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Three full-color photos of legendary Jazz point guard John Stockton line the entrance to the team's practice facility. A basketball bearing Stockton's signature is encased in glass, as is his No. 12 jersey. Inside Utah's gym, Stockton's name appears three more times, sharing space with fellow Hall of Famers Jerry Sloan and Karl Malone.
Michael Stockton embraced it all Tuesday.
Rather than ignore his father's lofty place in Jazz history, the son of one of the most respected players to ever grace the hardwood said that he turned the heavy weight into motivation.
"It's really cool to come back and see all of this again, now that I'm older and I understand it all a little bit better. This is really an amazing place," said Michael, who participated in a draft workout with former BYU guard Jackson Emery, guard Mustapha Farrakhan [Virginia] and guard Brady Morningstar [Kansas].
John had been told by Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor that there might be a chance this summer to find an opening for Michael. An unexpected call came through last Friday, as Michael was packing to attend his graduation from Westminster College. John had a tip: "Pack heavy."
Three days after leaving college life behind, Michael was surrounded by NBA greatness.
"I believe in myself. I believe I can play with anybody," said Michael, who plans to head overseas in the hope of continuing his basketball career. "But the NBA is a completely different level. I'm not there yet, and that's OK. Will I ever be there? I don't know."
Emery was also grateful for the opportunity. He acknowledged that the cancelation of the NBA Summer League and an expected lockout have not helped his chances of latching on with a pro team in the United States.
For now, he's eying Europe, building up his résumé and attempting to gain attention any way he can.
"This is why you play basketball," said Emery, who credited O'Connor's relationship with Cougars coach Dave Rose for the workout. "You take it from one level to the next, and you just try to get better each time."
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