SALT LAKE CITY — The often stoic and private hall-of-fame point guard John Stockton and outspoken hall-of-fame power forward Karl Malone made Utah a basketball state, winning over fans for a lifetime with their incredible play and run at the NBA Finals.
Now, more than a decade after retirement, Stockton is back in Utah promoting the release of his autobiography "Assisted." Stockton wrote the book with the help of his former coach Kerry L. Pickett as a way of passing his career onto his children.
"That's mostly where it came from and it blew out of proportion and here we are," Stockton said.
Stockton said the book was also another way for him to pass the time after retirement.
"I was trying to figure out something to do. I didn't want to start another career and miss the things I so looked forward to doing when I retired, so I didn't want to pick up a coaching job that would take me away from my family," Stockton said. "This fit the bill. I could do it on my own schedule. I could do it with my old coach and friend as a project, and it worked out."
Stockton is arguably one of the greatest point guards in NBA history, leading the Utah Jazz to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances and 16 straight playoff appearances. He made 10 All Star appearances and was part of the 1992 and 1996 Olympic "Dream Team."
"We've had a discussion or two, and we did right before I retired. Larry (Miller) and I talked about the prospects of one day me becoming a coach, and I guess we agreed on the decision not to. An actual offer and a denial hasn't happened yet."
Throughout his storied career, Stockton was private and didn't open up much to the public. Now, Stockton said he's more open and is a changed person.
"Times are different now. Not everyone is seeking that information all the time," Stockton said. "I was concentrated at playing basketball and nothing else at the time. Protecting a young family as they're growing up is difficult in this business, and so things have changed a little bit; I'm a little looser."
Since his retirement, Stockton said he is relatively busy, consisting of coaching some days and "business ventures" other days. Shortly after retirement, the Jazz organization asked Stockton to train with incoming point guard Deron Williams, and the team has since involved rookie point guard Trey Burke in a similar session.
Stockton said Burke has a great opportunity to learn from the bench as he recovers from injury. He said his experience on the bench behind Rickey Green was a great way to be successful in the league.
"It was a great learning tool for me and I would recommend that for young guards in this league," Stockton said.
As for coaching in the league, Stockton said he's open to the idea and has had discussions with the Jazz organization, but nothing formal has ever been introduced.
"We've had a discussion or two, and we did right before I retired," Stockton said. "Larry (Miller) and I talked about the prospects of one day me becoming a coach, and I guess we agreed on the decision not to. An actual offer and a denial hasn't happened yet."
Stockton will be signing his autobiography Friday and Saturday at Deseret Book in downtown Salt Lake City and at EnergySolutions Areana, respectively.
Contributing: Rod Zundel