This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Copper Hills High School's sophomore forward can Google his name and find nearly half a million mentions. Some of them even have to do with Stockton Shorts himself.
Of course, that is not his given name. It actually is Stockton Malone Shorts. Label him a child of the Dream Team, because an exhibition contest during the U.S. Olympic basketball team's preparation for the 1996 Games became his christening moment more than two years before his birth to Rylan and Kelly Shorts.
Stockton's parents attended that game vs. China in Phoenix, where they lived, wearing USA jerseys. They were walking down the street when a van stopped and the driver beckoned them. As they approached the vehicle, out stepped John Stockton, Karl Malone and Jerry Sloan, who chatted with them and signed autographs.
That explains how their first-born son would have immortalized names. The episode "kind of left us speechless," said Kelly Shorts, who understood her future husband's loyalty to the Jazz. "That kind of sold me."
To answer your most pressing questions: No, the length of Stockton Shorts' basketball trunks is not Stocktonesque. Yes, his mother occasionally has sought his attention by yelling his full name, invoking both Hall of Famers.
Stockton Shorts, the apparel item, became an object of worldwide curiosity as basketball uniforms grew much longer and John Stockton tried to maintain his own preference.
Stockton Shorts, the person, grimaced when asked if he ever would adopt that style. "Definitely not," he said. His shorts cover his knees, although they're not the longest among his teammates.
No. 12 for the Copper Hills Grizzlies was born in October 1998, four months after the Jazz's second NBA Finals appearance. He's a promising player, averaging 10 points. In last Friday's 53-48 upset of No. 1 Bingham, Shorts posted 16 points and nine rebounds, making 9 of 10 free throws including all six shots in the final minute.
"We put a lot of pressure on him to become a contributor, and he's really tried to get better," said his coach, Andrew Blanchard.
Known to his friends and family as "Stock," the 6-foot-3 Shorts plays for the highly ranked Utah Prospects AAU team. With two more summers of exposure to scouts, he'll likely be a college recruit at some level in the class of 2017.
Asked to detail his strengths, Shorts said, "I've become a lot better shooter, and I can get to the hole and I can lock people down on defense."
In the Stockton tradition, those words were expressed more modestly than they may appear.
Rylan Shorts grew up in Green River, wearing No. 12 as a point guard for the Pirates' 1991 state championship team in Class 1A. He latched onto John Stockton, even in the days when Stockton was backing up Rickey Green with the Jazz. Kelly Shorts is from Southern California, where she preferred football and baseball, so she never was a Lakers fan.
Stockton Shorts considers basketball his birthright. His 13-year-old brother, Kylan, is a good baseball player, and his 6-year-old sister, Avery, has started soccer.
Stock's clutch free-throw performance at Bingham came after he struggled from the line earlier this season. The son and father studied videotape and corrected a flaw in his stroke, with history-making results. Copper Hills had lost 16 straight games to the neighboring Miners before Shorts led a strong finish by returning from a cut lip that briefly sidelined him in the fourth quarter and left blood stains on his gray jersey.
His display of poise and toughness was just what everyone would expect from Stockton Malone Shorts, whose parents have always wanted him to know that his naming went beyond basketball.
The child was 5 when John Stockton retired from the Jazz in 2003. So even though his parents took him to some games, he has no memory of watching his namesake play. The family did capture a photo with the two Stocktons during the retirement ceremony that summer.
Stockton Shorts wants to go as far as he can in basketball. His parents hope he lives up to his name in a broader sense of being humble and hard-working and not making excuses, on or off the court. That's what they've tried to teach him about being named Stockton Malone. As Kelly Shorts said, "It wasn't just that we're crazy, fanatical fans."
That's only part of the story.
Stockton Shorts was born in Arizona in October 1998; his family moved to Utah two months later. He is aware of other Copper Hills High School students who share his first name, and he has come across others in his basketball travels. In 1998, when the Jazz lost to the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Finals for the second year, Stockton was not among the 100 most popular boys names for Utah-born babies but Michael and Jordan were in the top 10 (John was No. 44).
Source: Social Security Administration.