Well, it certainly was an awkward moment Thursday afternoon when former Jazzman John Stockton and his family came sauntering down the hallway at EnergySolutions Arena, not far from where the Hall of Famer used to change his socks.
The Stocktons were on their way out of the building after watching middle son, David, and his No. 1-seeded Gonzaga teammates survive a scare from No. 16 Southern University, 64-58, in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. It just so happened a group of local media types -- folks who used to cover John during his playing days -- were standing in the hall outside Gonzaga's locker room.
Now, it's true John hasn't made a lot of mistakes inside the ESA. But on this occasion, if he actually thought he could sneak out without being recognized by his old "friends" he was indeed mistaken.
Perhaps his timing was off. Had Gonzaga officials opened their locker room 30 seconds earlier, the Stocktons would have slipped out undetected. A few seconds later and they might have had time to double back and slip out another way. But in a missed-it-by-that-much moment, they got caught.
John, who saw us before we saw him, was still trying to hustle his wife and a couple of kids toward an elevator when he gave a sheepish wave and asked, "Hey, how are you guys?"
Busted, he recovered like a champ. He shook a couple of hands, made a quick introduction and successfully avoided having to appear on camera or in front of ink-stained notebooks.
Perhaps a bit awkward, sure, but definitely a fortunate set of circumstances, I say. Had he been corralled we might've stood there and talked to him too long; we might've been tempted to make it more about John and less about young David.
That would have been a shame.
Thursday was David's day. Actually, it was a day for the entire Bulldog team. In a really exciting contest, they successfully avoided becoming the first No. 1 seed in tournament history to suffer an upset to a 16.
They came away with smiles on their faces, none the worse for wear. And they'll look ahead to Saturday's matchup with No. 9 Wichita State, who topped No. 8 Pittsburgh.
Of course David, a junior point guard, knew he wasn't going to get out as easily as his family did. Instead he sat in front of his locker, smiled politely and answered a lot of questions, some about the actual game, more about playing in the arena where his father's retired No. 12 jersey hangs in the rafters.
David said it was pretty cool playing in the same arena where he used to goof around as a kid.
"I showed (the Bulldogs) that I knew basically everyone walking in here," he said. "I showed them where I broke my collarbone on a Coke machine. Just memories like that, it was pretty fun."
But he also said playing at ESA put no extra pressure on him. If there was a temptation to get nostalgic and starting reflecting on days gone by, he resisted it.
If his father's retired jersey cast too big a shadow, he successfully dribbled around it.
"I just came here to play basketball, that was my main focus," he said.
Wisely, he kept his focus and so did his teammates. The Zags didn't shake the Jaguars until late, but survived after Kevin Pangos hit a pull-away 3-pointer with 1:54 left, then added a couple of late free throws.
As for David, he played 29 minutes, scoring four points and dishing out a game-high seven assists.
Yes, Thursday was David's day, not John's. But don't think that meant the son doesn't know what the father means around here.
"This place -- this whole area -- has his footprint on it," he said.
Yep, and with a footprint that big, good luck sneaking out of the arena unnoticed.