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Friday, September 11, 2009
John Stockton on Reality and Motivation


Experts on success will tell you, and I think they're right, that the great ones tend to believe in themselves in profound ways.

Early in today's Hall of Fame press conference, the extraordinary C. Vivian Stringer encouraged a young Springfield, Massachusetts student journalist with advice largely along those lines. 

But that's not how John Stockton did things. And I suspect a whole lot of people will find it wholly inspiring that Stockton managed to be among the greatest basketball players ever despite both being way too small for the job, and seemingly lacking any kind of conviction that he was among the best.

Speaking on the day of his induction into the Hall of Fame, he talked of when he first made it to the NBA.

I thought they'd figure me out pretty quickly. I thought the Jazz would figure out they had made a mistake. So I saved every cent. I did get the first paycheck. I saved every cent. I rented a one-bedroom apartment that was already furnished. I never bought a television set. I went to the discount food store and bought cans of McNally's chili. I made my mom's lasagna and stacked it up in the fridge.

So I was pretty sure I was a one year-and-out guy.

I don't know if that ever changed. I think if you asked my wife, who's sitting over there with my family, she'd tell you that part of me hasn't changed much.

Two things I love about this. First of all, if you can't relate to the part about being sure things would go badly, and feeling you couldn't afford to spend a penny on indulgences ... consider yourself lucky. I suspect we can almost all relate to this.

Secondly, you can just feel the work ethic in all this right? The determination? As much as believing in yourself (and on some level, I'm sure he always did) is important to success, there's nothing like doing the work, and Stockton's approach sure seemed to keep him motivated.