NBA legend John Stockton gets Gonzaga season tickets taken away over mask standoff


NBA legend John Stockton had his Gonzaga basketball season tickets suspended for failing to comply with the school’s mask mandates.

Gonzaga’s rules say fans 12 and older are required to provide proof of coronavirus vaccination or a negative PCR test 72 hours before the start of a game. Masks must also be worn by fans over the age of 5.

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NBA legend John Stockton gets Gonzaga season tickets taken away over mask standoff

NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton looks on during the Lewis-Clark State Warriors at Gonzaga Bulldogs men’s basketball game in the first half at McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, Wash. (James Snook-USA TODAY Sports)

Stockton told The Spokesman-Review he was notified by Gonzaga athletic director Chris Standiford of the school’s decision.

"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. 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 Basketball Hall of Famer told the newspaper.

Stockton faced scrutiny over the summer when he appeared in an anti-vaccine documentary. Stockton, considered one of the greatest point guards in history, spoke about federal officials’ decisions to lock down certain parts of the country in hopes of stopping the spread of COVID-19.

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NBA legend John Stockton gets Gonzaga season tickets taken away over mask standoff

Former Gonzaga Bulldogs basketball player John Stockton has a laugh with a fan during a game against the Santa Clara Broncos in the second half at McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, Wash., Jan 16, 2020. (James Snook-USA TODAY Sports)

While talking with the newspaper, Stockton made a wild claim that more than 100 professional athletes have died from getting vaccinated.

"I think it’s highly recorded now, there’s 150 I believe now, it’s over 100 professional athletes dead – professional athletes – the prime of their life, dropping dead that are vaccinated, right on the pitch, right on the field, right on the court," he told the newspaper.

The dubious claim appeared to go viral on social media toward the end of 2021, according to Reuters. The claim appeared in German and Israeli media.

NBA legend John Stockton gets Gonzaga season tickets taken away over mask standoff

NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton attends a game between the Sioux Falls Skyforce and the South Bay Lakers Nov. 14, 2019, at UCLA Heath Training Center in El Segundo, Calif. (Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

Stockton said the latest development in his relationship with Gonzaga is straining but "not broken." He also said he was aware of his "image" and the opinions about him for his anti-vaccination views.

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The former Utah Jazz point guard attended Gonzaga from 1980 to 1984. His children, David and Laura, also played for the Zags.