Stockton's Big Turnover | Private Eye | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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News » Private Eye

Stockton's Big Turnover



Over the years, I've written for longish spells about singular topics—week after week—that were probably of interest only to me. There was the period I wrote endlessly about my faux addiction to NyQuil, after a store clerk ID'd me when I bought some. Then there was the long stretch I wrote about all things Greece. Readers got so sick of that subject, one took it to the proper conclusion during a period of me posting from Greece itself and simply told me to stay there. Hey, if you were so lucky to find yourself being paid to write a newspaper column from Greece, you'd do it too, right?

Of course, you would. However, even I admit the columns I wrote about University of Utah football were over the top. I didn't really use my then-8-year-old son, Mikey, to "mule" liquor into Rice-Eccles Stadium, did I? Sorry to say I did, because who is going to frisk a kid? It's a thirsty jungle out there, and you're not fooling me, readers. I know because they don't sell schnapps at Rice-Eccles yet, and there was always a waft of peppermint or peach in my seating section. Utah fans are basically all mules.

Does anyone remember the Chelada craze that was started in this space? I'd taken a trip to Mexico and was introduced to the beer, lime and salt drink that kept me hydrated for nearly a week. Bartenders all over the city began to hate the sight of me. If I sat at their bar, it meant one thing: They'd spend the next five minutes squeezing the juice from pathetic bar limes to fill a glass half full of lime juice. Those columns led to Utah's first Chelada party, a grand shindig held at the old Port O' Call. Glad to be of service, Utah.

Then there was the span when this column ran all over former Utah Jazz point guard, Carlos Arroyo. I don't know a thing about NBA basketball, yet I had people stopping me on the street asking if Carlos was everything I said or if he was yet to find me to beat the shit out of me. He didn't seem to mind, and why would he have? He made millions more in this town than I ever will.

So did the guy he replaced, John Stockton. I'd see Stockton now and then when our kids were playing Catholic league basketball. He usually sat alone, as frugal with his privacy as he was with his money. He seldom signed an autograph. Still, at one game, my son Mikey sauntered up to him, and Stockton signed his basketball, a real rarity. When we got home, Mikey shot some driveway hoops and the autograph was quickly erased—which led to him being assigned as my Rice-Eccles Stadium liquor mule.

But today, the Stockton brand is a tad diminished. Last week, he marched center stage with other QAnon conspiracy theorists in an anti-vax COVID video. He'd done a "significant amount of research" into COVID and determined that science was wrong. That's like me commenting on Carlos Arroyo.

Stockton added to the folly by making a weird analogy between Golden State Warriors champ Steph Curry and COVID-19. He fretted that, because of the pandemic lockdown and quarantine, we might have missed out on discovering the next Steph Curry. Ever heard of Terance Mann, John?

Does Stockton think about anything besides basketball? No wonder he so readily guzzled the QAnon swill. I dunno, but it seems like he might have been less tone-deaf and paid homage to the 600,000 persons who died of COVID these past 18 months. Somehow, his "significant" research doesn't factor in that painful loss.

For now, Stockton is the guy in the Pete Maravich jersey sitting in the cheap seats hollering about what the coach is doing wrong. Fans around that fellow tell him to sit down and shut up. As Stockton should do now. Sit down, John. Shut up.

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