Michael Stockton, the son of Basketball Hall of Famer John Stockton, left Ukraine prior to Russia’s invasion Thursday morning.
Stockton’s agent told USA Today‘s Jeff Zillgitt the 32-year-old was back home in Spokane, Washington, after having exited Ukraine last week. He had been signed to Budivelnyk Kyiv, which competes in the Ukrainian Basketball SuperLeague.
He had averaged 10.1 points, 6.3 assists and 1.1 steals in 28 appearances for Budivelnik. After going undrafted in 2011, Stockton has bounced around Europe, playing in France, Germany, Russia and Greece.
Under the orders of President Vladimir Putin, Russian soldiers launched an attack on Ukraine on Thursday, initially targeting areas around Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, and Kharkiv. The invasion has since expanded.
Stockton’s career is evidence of how American athletes often looked to Eastern European leagues to continue their playing careers. While he has returned to the United States, the status of others is unclear.
Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA
Clearly not priority, but the basketball world is being impacted by the attacks on Ukraine. Approximately 40 US-born players have played in Ukraine this year. Several are still signed to active contracts. One agent told me “Breached contract, but we got our guys out of there.”
The WNBA, which often sees top stars play for Russian or Ukrainian clubs in the offseason, issued a statement saying its players who were in Ukraine have left:
Zillgitt spoke with Eric Fleisher, who represents Archie Goodwin. Fleisher explained how he could see the writing on the wall leading up to Thursday’s attack.
“Having been through similar situations in Ukraine and Israel in the past when there was a conflict, there is a timeliness and build-up, and it was clear to me it was time to leave,” he said.
Goodwin had played alongside Stockton on Budivelnyk but quickly signed with Israeli team Maccabi Rishon LeZion.