On April 17th in 1999, John Stockton became the first player in NBA history to reach the 13,000 assist mark. He reached the landmark assist on a Karl Malone jumper as the Utah Jazz defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 109-93.
In fact, after he passed Magic Johnson in 1995 to be the all-time leader in assists, he was also the first player to multiple other assist landmarks like 10k, 11k, 12k and, later on, 14k and 15k.
After 1,504 regular-season games, he finished his career as the all-time leader, not only, in assists with 15,806 () but also in steals with 3,265. Having played 19 years in the league, he is the holder of multiple assists and steals records.
Here are a few notable ones:
- He became the first player ever to record consecutive seasons [1989, 1990] of recording at least 1,000 assists.
- His streak of five straight seasons with at least 1,000 assists is a yet-to-be broken NBA record.
- In 1989-90, he set the record for highest assists average for a season - 14.5 & most assists for a season - 1,164.
- Most assists in a playoff game - 24
- Second-highest career assists average - 10.5
- Most consecutive seasons as assists leader - 9
A big reason for Stockton to have such huge gaps on all-time charts for assists and steals is his durability. In 17 of his 19 seasons in the league, he played 82 regular-season games.
Other notable events on April 17th
- In 1966, the Los Angeles Lakers come from 34-20 down at the end of the first quarter to defeat the Boston Celtics 133-129 in overtime in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Jerry West was the game's top-scorer with 41 points as the Lakers' 14-point comeback set a record for the largest first-quarter deficit overcome in NBA Finals history. The Celtics go on to win the 1966 Finals in seven games.
- In 1982, the Denver Nuggets' frontcourt of Alex English (25.4 ppg), Dan Issel (22.9 ppg) and Kiki Vandeweghe (21.5 ppg) became the first trio to each average more than 20 ppg since Bob Pettit, Cliff Hagan and Clyde Lovellette of St. Louis did so in 1961.
- In 1990, the Minnesota Timberwolves drew in 49,551 fans to the Metrodome. That's the third-highest attendance figure in league history and helped the franchise set an all-time single-season attendance mark of 1,072,572 fans for 41 games in the Metrodome.
- In 1993, Atlanta Hawks' Dominique Wilkins scores 41 points in a 110-107 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. In the process, he became the 11th player in NBA history to cross the 22,000 point mark.
- In 1995, Buck Williams grabbed 12 rebounds in a 97-93 road win at Seattle for the Portland Trail Blazers. En route to grabbing the 12 rebounds, he became the eighth NBA player to reach 12,000 rebounds and 15,000 points in a career.
Game-winning buzzer-beaters on April 17th
Jo Jo White vs. Philadelphia 76ers in 1977
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