Basketball Hall of Famer John Stockton is easily the most famous Gonzaga Bulldogs basketball alumnus. In 1984, his senior season in Spokane, he led the Bulldogs to a 17-11 record while leading the West Coast Conference in points, assists and steals.
Stockton who has resided in Spokane following his illustrious NBA career, is a season ticket holder for the Zags. Those tickets were recently suspended due to Stockton’s failure to comply with the mask mandate of the school and arena.
Stockton and the school’s administration are at odds over the mandate. Stockton reportedly met with the school’s athletics director Chris Standiford concerning the situation. Stockton then told the Spokesman-Review:
“Basically, it came down to they were asking me to wear a mask to the games and being a public figure, someone a little bit more visible, I stuck out in the crowd a little bit. And therefore, they received complaints and felt like whatever the higher-ups were — those weren’t discussed, but from whatever it was higher up, they were going to have to either ask me to wear a mask or they were going to suspend my tickets.”
Stockton has consistently criticized the measures taken as it pertains to COVID-19 vaccines, the different shutdown measures and of course mask mandates.
Stockton Makes Outrageous Claim: Kareem Abdul-Jabber Responds
Stockton even said that over 100 athletes have died because they received the COVID-19 vaccine. This without any credible or substantial evidence to back that claim. People don’t have a problem with Stockton’s anti-mask sentiments, but when he started spreading unsubstantiated rumors about the vaccine, that’s when he received pushback from the university and other prominent athletes.
“I think it’s highly recorded now, there’s 150 I believe now, it’s over 100 professional athletes dead — professional athletes — the prime of their life, dropping dead that are vaccinated, right on the pitch, right on the field, right on the court.”
in an interview with CNN, Abdul-Jabbar was very outspoken on the matter and addressed what he perceived as reckless comments by the Hall of Fame point guard.
“I think statements like that make the public look upon athletes like dumb jocks, for trying to explain something that is obviously a pandemic,” Kareem said. “I think athletes have a great role to play. Because kids that are high school, 73% of them see athletes as effective role models and respect what they’re doing and listen to what they’re saying about various issues.”
Abdul-Jabbar: “I think athletes have a great role to play because kids that are in high school, 73% of them see athletes as effective role models and respect what they’re doing and listen to what they’re saying about various issues.” pic.twitter.com/CSZeYYcaOs
— Theo Lawson (@TheoLawson_SR) January 24, 2022
Kareem has long been an outspoken activist who seems to know what to say, no matter the subject.
Stockton Thinks Relationship With School Is Repairable
Stockton believes the relationship, although tense with the school, is fixable.
“I’ve been a part of this campus since I was probably 5 or 6 years old. I was just born a couple blocks away and sneaking into the gym and selling programs to get into games since I was a small boy. So, it’s strained, not broken, and I’m sure we’ll get through, but it’s not without some conflict.”
The Zags are a powerhouse program that has played in two of the past five title games. They execute and recruit at a high level under head coach Mark Few.
Stockton is the NBA’s all-time leader in assists and steals and is widely recognized as one of the greatest point guards to ever play the game. But this outlandish and invalidated take is a bit worrisome.
Conspiracy theorist or not, to say something like that shows Stockton can’t be taken seriously when discussing something as serious as COVID-19, which has ravaged the world for two years now.
Stockton was as astute a point guard that ever graced the hardwood, but on the issue of vaccines, some believe he keeps turning the ball over.
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