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John Stockton being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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John Stockton Made NBA Debut On This Day 36 Years Ago

John Stockton being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – October 26 marks one of the most important dates in Utah Jazz history. The opening game of the 1984 season was the day John Stockton, future Hall of Famer, and the NBA’s all-time assists and steals leader made his debut with the Jazz.

The Jazz faced off against the Seattle SuperSonics to begin the year, suffering a 102-94 loss on the road. Stockton played 17 minutes in his debut and scored four points, dished five assists, and grabbed two steals in 17 reserve minutes.

Stockton received a warm reception from the Washington crowd having spent his college career at nearby Gonzaga University. The Jazz drafted Stockton with the 16th pick in the first round of the 1984 draft.

The guard would go on to appear in 10 All-Star games, earn 11 All-NBA nods, five All-Defensive team selections while leading the Jazz to two NBA Finals appearances. Stockton was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.

Two other NBA greats also made their debuts on October 26. Philadelphia 76ers forward Charles Barkley scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds in his debut against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Michael Jordan scored 16 points, handed out seven assists, grabbed six rebounds, and blocked four shots in his Chicago Bulls debut against the Washington Bullets.

Other Notable Jazz Debuts

Stockton’s beginning isn’t the only notable debut in Jazz history. Teammate and pick and roll partner Karl Malone made his debut on October 25, 1985, and scored eight points, snared six rebounds, and recorded four steals in a loss to the Houston Rockets.

All-Star guard Deron Williams first debuted with the Jazz on November 2, 2005. Williams helped lead the Jazz to a 93-82 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Williams scored 18 points while grabbing three rebounds and handing out three assists in 26 minutes off the bench.

Current Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell made his debut on October 18, 2017. Mitchell scored 10 points and had four assists against the Denver Nuggets in a 106-96 Jazz win.

Darrell Griffth has perhaps the most impressive debut in Jazz history. The former high flyer and Rookie of the Year award winner scored 26 points in his debut. Griffith added eight rebounds and five steals in the Jazz 96-86 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on October 10, 1980.

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