This is a picture of a bored man next to a thought bubble saying: That is so boring! Below is the subheading: John Stockton's Nickname

John Stockton’s Nickname: He Didn’t Steal a Great Name!

John Stockton only had one nickname in his Utah Jazz playing days: the rather boring Stock. The name was obviously a shortening of his real last name. The ladies from Friends and sports talk host Jim Rome tried giving him other names but none ever stuck. 

Why was John Stockton’s Nickname Stock?

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For a guy who set a ton of NBA records, John Stockton had a low-key NBA career. 

Certainly, not low-key in his play or his results. Stockton is somehow both the all-time steals and assists leader for the NBA. He played great on offense and on defense

But he was low-key in style. Stockton showed up to work and did his job without a ton of flash. 

I am reminded of a great quote from Chris Webber later in Stockton’s career. He said: “John Stockton would come to the game literally in a minivan, pop his kids out, come in there and bust us up”. 

I am hoping Webber in this case is more familiar with the actual definition of literally than my daughter who uses it wrong nearly every day. But the point stands in any case.

John Stockton was not a flashy guy. In a league of Ferraris, he was driving a minivan. 

And in a league full of great nicknames, his was boring with a capital B. Some players had one name and needed no more: the Mailman, Air Jordan, Magic Johnson, the Dream and the Admiral. 

Some players cycled through various fun names before having one stick: the Hick from French Lick became Larry Legend. The Tower from Power ended up as Cap

Other players had just plain fun nicknames: The Round Mound of Rebound. The Big Fundamental. The Big Ticket.

The point here is the NBA is a league of fun nicknames. You usually don’t have to go looking for one! It’ll find you. But not in John Stockton’s case. 

Despite being an absolute beast on the court, the only nickname Stockton was called consistently was Stock. The name was an obvious shortening of his last name. It is one of the least fun nicknames any all-time NBA great has ever had! 

Who called John Stockton the Short Shorts guy?  

In an NBC promo, Phoebe from the Friends cast, played by Lisa Kudrow, called him the Short Shorts guy. In the ad you can see below, Monica (Courtney Cox), Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and Phoebe are sitting in their familiar NYC apartment. 

After Monica calls out the action, Phoebe bemoans the changes in the game. Rachel comments on the things she sees changing: the three point line and less physical defense when Phoebe corrects her. 

Phoebe misses the old days of short shorts. Certainly when Bird and Magic were battling in their prime, the shorts were shorter! In any case, Stockton hits a three to win the game and then the ladies celebrate when he is interviewed after the game. 

Friends, like the NBA at the time, aired on NBC. Hence the cross-promotion. 

Despite the work of the stars of one of the world’s most popular shows, and despite the fact that Stockton was one of the last holdouts wearing short shorts, the name never stuck. 

As far as I can tell, no one besides the Friends cast called John Stockton the Short Shorts Guy. 

Proving that fashion is completely circular and nothing ever really goes away for good, somehow short shorts are back. 

Who called John Stockton the Pasty Gangsta?

Jim Rome is an intentionally bombastic talk show host who famously got into it with Rams quarterback Jim Everett.

I was never a Jim Rome listener, but part of his schtick was having his own names for teams, groups of fans, players and the like. He claims in this feature that the names, like his information, come from the players.

Rome called Stockton the pasty gangsta in reference to his skin tone and, according to this and other online Rome dictionaries I found, his reputation for dirty play.

To have the kind of career Stockton had at 6’0”, you could not be afraid to compete. He certainly was not.  Stockton faced these accusations of dirty play from time to time. 

I somehow doubt he worried much about Rome’s version of them. 

In any case, outside of the online Jim Rome dictionaries, there are no references to the pasty gangsta. The name never stuck beyond Jim Rome listeners. 

Summary: John Stockton’s Nickname

John Stockton had one of the best and most unique careers in NBA history. He also had one of the most boring nicknames in NBA history. Stock was the only nickname that ever really stuck to the dominant point guard. Despite the efforts of the cast of Friends and talk show host Jim Rome, names like the Short Shorts Guy and Pasty Gangsta never stuck. 

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