John Stockton and Ron Harper tangle over a loose ball. Stockton’s “Sunday Ball” runs in Spokane, Washington was recently featured in Sports Illustrated as Gonzaga, his alma mater, prepares to face Baylor in the national championship game on Monday night. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
As the Gonzaga Bulldogs prepare to face the Baylor Bears in the men’s NCAA title game on Monday night, the Bulldogs’ most famous alum remains Utah Jazz legend John Stockton.
Last week, Stockton was at the center of a feature story by Sports Illustrated’s Greg Bishop detailing how the Hall of Fame point guard has organized a somewhat secret club of players who get together regularly on Sundays to play hoops at a facility Stockton owns in Spokane, Washington, where Gonzaga is located and where Stockton lives.
It’s called simply “Sunday Ball,” and as Bishop explains, the games can get pretty intense, which should come as little surprise to those who know the hard-nosed type of player Stockton was during his NBA career.
Bishop writes that while others are authorized to suggest potential newcomers to the group, Stockton has the final word on whether or not an invite is extended. Another rule: No parents are allowed to watch the games.
“All of the informal Sunday Ball policies point toward a larger goal: that Stockton wants to pass down or reinforce a specific style of basketball, a way to respect the game and learn from the opposition, free of interference, divas or too many prying eyes,” Bishop writes.
Throughout the piece, Bishop points to the notion that the history within the Gonzaga program has helped it become the program it is, and Sunday Ball has been an important part of connecting past players with current ones.
Gonzaga’s championship aspirations, Bishop concludes, “wouldn’t have been possible without Sundays defined by bloody noses, hard fouls and the Hall of Famer who both sweeps the floors and helps to sustain a college basketball program with an unparalleled and exclusive tradition.”
Source:: Deseret News – Sports News