So, apparently it's impossible for John Stockton not to influence everything he touches.
Apparently he's a pretty dynamic guy, even for someone who avoids the spotlight in the same way fish avoid air.
Predictably, Stockton's name came up Wednesday afternoon inside EnergySolutions Arena, where his son, David, and the rest of the No. 1-seeded Gonzaga basketball team will take on No. 16 Southern University today in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
(The NCAA refers to it as the second round but, c'mon, who are they kidding? First there's the play-in games, then the real tournament starts today.) John Stockton, of course, knows a little something about this arena. He also knows a little about Gonzaga.
The Hall of Fame point guard spent 19 seasons playing for the Utah Jazz. Before that, he spent four seasons as a baby-faced Bulldog near his hometown of Spokane, Wash.
"John has had a huge impact on our program," longtime Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "You're not going to meet a more humble, down-to-earth superstar -- Hall of Fame guy -- in your life. He coached my son's AAU team. I wish all you guys had the opportunity to know John on the level like I know John and the guys in our program know John."
Stockton retired from the Jazz after the 2002-03 season but he didn't retire from basketball. Instead, he moved back to Spokane and quietly began helping out with Gonzaga's program.
And why wouldn't he? He played for the Bulldogs -- also affectionately known as the Zags -- from 1980 through 1984. His wife, Nada, played volleyball there and his grandfather, Houston, played football there in the 1920s.
The Stocktons are inexorably connected to Gonzaga, so it makes sense he'd give back to the program, including giving them a skinny walk-on point guard who looks a lot like his dad.
David, a junior, isn't a starter but he leads the team in assists -- why wouldn't he, right? -- averaging 3.3 per game. He also has the most steals (53) and has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.6.
"I go against David every day in practice," starting point guard Kevin Pangos said. "I can see so many of the things he has learned from his dad. The little things you might not think of all the time."
Now that he's back in Salt Lake City, where he grew up, and playing in the arena where he used to shoot baskets as a kid, David is an instant storyline for today's game.
But when the ball goes up, there won't be a shortage of eyes focused on John and Nada in the stands. After all, there's a statue of John in front of the arena and No. 12 hangs in the rafters above the court.
"He's the focal point," Pangos said. "He went to Gonzaga, best point guard of all time."
He is, in fact, the NBA's all-time leader in assists (15,806) and steals (3,265). He was named one of the NBA's 50 greatest players of all time and he did enter the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.
Of course if you somehow corner him, John Stockton isn't likely to mention any of that. He probably would, however, talk about his children and he'd mention his affection for Gonzaga, too.
"(He) really cares immensely about our program, about Gonzaga and about Spokane," Few said. "I think that's carried over to our guys. Our guys see somebody tremendously successful like that and how he handles his business and how humble he is and the amount of grace he has. It's contagious."
Apparently it is.
"He's one of those guys where, if you talk to him for five minutes, you will learn something," junior center Kelly Olynyk said.
"He's one of those guys that you want to listen to him, like he's going to give you the secret of life because he's a wealth of knowledge. In five minutes you can learn something you couldn't learn your whole life if you hadn't talked him."