Former Utah Jazz point guard and Gonzaga alum, John Stockton, has been barred from attending men’s basketball games for defying the school’s mask mandate.
The NBA record holder for all-time assists and steals had his court-side season tickets suspended for refusing to mask up at games. “Basically, it came down to, they were asking me to wear a mask to the games and being a public figure, someone a little bit more visible, I stuck out in the crowd a little bit,” Stockton said.
“And therefore they received complaints and felt like from whatever the higher-ups – those weren’t discussed, but from whatever it was higher up – they were going to have to either ask me to wear a mask or they were going to suspend my tickets.”
The university recently suspended sales of food and beverage at concessions to promote mask usage, and requires proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to get into the stadium.
Stockton said he thought about wearing a mask after learning the fate of his seats. “You consider everything, every option when you’re presented with something like that, and I considered it in great detail.”
He clearly declined to comply, as his season tickets were suspended, but pointed out that the ban isn’t indefinite. “When the rule changes, then tickets will be reoffered,” Stockton remarked. “I don’t know what the right terminology is. When the rule changes.”
The former Gonzaga hall of famer, who is one of the few players to have his number retired by the school, said the decision “stresses” his relationship with the school that he remains connected to decades later.
“I’ve been part of this campus since I was probably 5 or 6 years old,” he said. “I was just born a couple blocks away and sneaking into the gym and selling programs to get into games since I was a small boy. So, it’s strained but not broken, and I’m sure we’ll get through it, but it’s not without some conflict.”
Retired Seattle Supersonics star Detlef Schrempf blasted Stockton for his choice to go maskless. “Bat s–t crazy,” he tweeted. “I am so disappointed we have so many role models not up to the task. This is not helping!”