Michael Stockton might be best known as the son of Hall of Fame point guard John Stockton. But Michael has carved out a productive career in his own right. After a standout career at Westminster College, Stockton went abroad to play professionally in Germany. The 6-foot-1 point guard currently is playing for the Thunder’s summer league team this week in Orlando, Fla.
Q: What was it like growing up and stepping on a basketball court as a point guard named Stockton?
A: There was never any shortage of outside expectations. You’d always hear, ‘You’re not as good as your dad’ or whatever. But there really wasn’t much to it. It was just going to play basketball.
When were you able to ignore those expectations and feel comfortable with who you are as a player?
I cracked that at a pretty young age. Even grade school, high school, I realized that my dad was one of the best players to ever play the game. He wasn’t someone that I ever expected to be as good as playing wise. So I wasn’t worried with what people would say or expectations in that regard, because the bar was set pretty darn high. So I just knew that I had to become my own player and find my niche.
What were games like in your backyard, how competitive were they and what were some of the lessons you took away from those?
The games at our house were always very competitive. It wasn’t just with my dad, it was with my older brother, my younger brother. Growing up, something was always going on. We were always playing some sort of game. So I learned at a young age you had to play your heart out if you ever wanted to win or make teams or anything. That’s just what was expected to win in my own backyard.
How did coming up in such an athletic family help shape you?
It’s mainly in the competitive aspect of it. Everything we did as a family, even if we were at a family barbeque we would end up playing a game of heated kickball, or a game of H-O-R-S-E or something. And it always got pretty testy. It would always get pretty fiery. Tempers would flare and people wanted to win. So I’d say, definitely, that’s the thing that I gained most from it is that competitive fire, that spirit to win.
Who’s the best athlete in the family?
Best athlete in the family? Well, my dad’s 52 years old now, but I’d say — I don’t know. I’d give it to myself just to sound selfish, but I don’t know. That’s a tough one. We’ve got a lot of good ones.
When did you decide that you wanted to pursue basketball as a career?
It was pretty late. I didn’t even decide I wanted to play college basketball until I was two months away from going to college. I had played three other sports the whole time. It wasn’t until probably my senior year of college where I was to a point where I thought, ‘Hey, I’m playing pretty well. I’m in good shape. Maybe some team overseas will take a look at me.’ So it was pretty late.