Son of NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton, other American basketball players flee Ukraine amid Russian invasion
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Michael Stockton, the son of the former NBA Hall of Fame and Utah Jazz Legend John Stockton has returned to the United States after leaving Ukraine last week amid fears of an imminent Russian invasion, according to a report.
The 32-year-old American basketball player was in his first season with Kyiv-based Ukrainian SuperLeague basketball team Budivelnyk. His agent said USA Today Sports Wednesday that he had left the country last week to return to his home in Spokane, Washington.
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His teammate Archie Goodwin, who played for the Kentucky Wildcats before being selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder 29th overall in the 2013 NBA Draft, he also left the country days before Russia invaded Ukraine.
His agent Eric Fleisher told the outlet that the team had informed the players that “everything will be fine”, but playing abroad showed that when tensions rise it is better to leave.
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“The team kept saying, ‘It’s okay, it’s gonna be okay,'” he said. “Having experienced similar situations in Ukraine and Israel in the past when there was conflict, there is opportunity and buildup, and it was clear to me that it was time to leave. The more knowledge you have , the easier it is to sift through what’s real and not real. I said to Archie, ‘It’s time to go.'”
NBA Insider Keith Smith valued about 40 American basketball players have played in Ukraine this year. An agent told him on Wednesday that they “broken the contract, but we got the guys out of there.”
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The sports world has been greatly affected by Russia’s large-scale attacks on Ukraine. UEFA deprived Russia of hosting the Champions League final on May 28 and Formula 1 scrapped this season’s Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.