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The National Basketball Association has seen its fair share of record holders from most points to most rebounds the NBA has a treasure trove of statistics that will make you think these players are from another world. Typically “stealing” has a bad connotation but as we look at the careers of some players in the NBA we see that it can also be a very celebrated skill.

Utah Jazz’s John Stockton is the leading “steal” player. Stockton is the only NBA player to have crossed the three thousand mark in steals. Stockton is leading this pack with over seven hundred steals over second placed all time star Michael Jordan.

The record number of steals do not stop there, other players to be included in this forum include Scottie Pippen, who is currently ranked at the sixth position. One of the big men in NBA (Hakeem Olajuwon) comes in at the eight position.

Surprise, surprise; Charles Barkley is also included in this list of “stealers” and should Jason Kidd play another year, he will finish at the second position. Jason Kidd is at the third position trailing Michael Jordan with only 37 “steals”.

Steal For Dummies
In the game of Basketball, a “steal” takes place when a defensive player legally makes a turnover following active, forceful actions. The actions can be done through deflection and control and also by catching the opposing side’s dribble or pass.

The rules in place, however, dictate that the defender shouldn’t touch the opponent team player’s hand. Should the defender touch the hand of the opponent, a foul will be called.

“Steals” are awarded to the first defensive player who made the turnover possible. It is awarded even if the player doesn’t end up in possession of the live ball.

To gain a “steal” the player playing defense ought to be the initiator of the “Steal” that ends up in a turnover. The defensive player shouldn’t just be the benefactor.

Every time a steal gets recorded by a defensive player, an offensive player should be accredited as obligating a turnover.

The Art of Steal
“Stealing” the ball is a skill that calls for good anticipation, the player needs to have speed, should have fast reflexes. These are all common traits of good defenders. That said, however, just like shots that get blocked, steals aren’t the perfect S.I. Unit of a player’s defensive abilities.

“Steals” that are not favorable end up being out of position and can’t be recovered in time, such blunders gives room for the offense to score. It goes to show that any attempt of a steal is a gamble.

Although a risky move, “steals” at most instances pay off significantly as they often trigger a very fast break for the team in the defense.

The beautiful thing being; there isn’t a protocol from which a player can use to get a lot of “steals”. Smaller, quicker guards are the ones who accumulate a lot of steals. There are plenty of exceptions, however.

John Stockton’s Bio
Born on 26th March 1962, John Houston Stockton is now an American retired professional NBA player. John spent his whole NBA career as the Point Guard for Utah Jazz. Playing for the team for a record nineteen years.

John Stockton is revered as being one of the best point guards in the NBA and holds the record for delivering most career assists and plenty of “steals”. John Stockton has over 700 steals ahead of second placed Michael Jordan.