Even 5,300 miles away from Salt Lake City playing in Germany's Pro-A second division, there's one topic of conversation Michael Stockton never grows tired of talking about: John Stockton
That's how long it took before Michael Stockton was forced to talk about his old man.
Honestly, I hated to go there. You know he gets "that" all of the time.
When Germany's Pro-A second division -- a 15-team league also known as the "AG 2, Bundesliga" and perceived little brother to Germany's premiere Beko BBL -- season started and Stockton's name stood out on BG Karlsruhe's roster as a must-get interview, inquiring about anything other than his Hall of Fame dad and Utah Jazz legend John Stockton was part of the plan.
No "what's it like growing up the son of John Stockton" questions.
No "Stockton to Malone" stories.
No joke attempts at Stockton wearing those short shorts while the rest of the NBA went with the Jordan-esque long joints.
But after the younger Stockton opened up (the feature story running here for the Deseret News) to adjusting to the realities of playing in Germany after leaving NAIA's Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah where he ranks second in school history in steals and third in assists, the conversation suddenly turned from Michael Stockton to John Stockton.
"In Salt Lake, that was generally the reason I got the interview," said Stockton flashing a smile.
"My freshman year at Westminster I probably did five or six interviews, and I probably played six minutes a game. So that's all it was - ‘Why did you come back to Salt Lake, and what about your dad and the shadow of John Stockton?' Finally in my senior year I played well enough to merit something other than that. "
Now as the starting point guard for Karlsruhe, Stockton warrants applause as he begins to write his own history during his rookie season overseas. Admittedly, Stockton knows his numbers and production (11 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game) aren't where they could be. And that will come only with time and getting acclimated to a new system, teammates and even a new culture. Yet in a league that exudes a college atmosphere on a professional level, Stockton is bound to excel thanks to some very rich basketball roots and a refined feel for the game.
His left-handed jumper is tough to guard.
He's not afraid to get up and play strong defense and much like his dad, this Stockton sees the court very well.
But that's the thing -- constantly being compared to his pops. When brother David red-shirted at Gonzaga as a freshman last season, he was also billed as "the son of NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton".
It's always been that way. It will probably always be that way.
You can imagine the rapid Q and A, Michael Stockton endured last May when he went through some pre-draft workouts with the Utah Jazz before making the decision to jump overseas to Germany. At least here, Stockton can escape that shadow for a little bit. Then again he's not exactly in a rush to disconnect from a last name that holds so much weight in the basketball world. Because when you can be compared to someone with the resume of John Stockton, that's not exactly a horrible thing.
"Usually his name comes up pretty quick but I don't mind that. That's just a testament to a great man and a great player who is my idol," Stockton added.
"I don't mind answering questions about him or for him, because I know he's not going to answer them himself. "
After the 20-minute interview I walked away with much appreciation for Stockton.
At 22-years old, he's wise beyond his years and while it's easy to get caught up in, "Hey, that's John Stockton's son playing out there," the way he handles himself off the floor is equally as professional.
And that's something his old man should be proud to talk about when it comes to his son in Germany.