Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Why I Love the Utah Jazz

This is a long one. . . . .skip down if you want to see the posts about Skye & her Idaho cousins!
The day Jerry Sloan "retired" I was phoned and texted with updates all day long. My family and friends all know my love for the Utah Jazz so they knew here in southern California the coverage would be minimal. Which it was. And they all wanted to know how I was doing.  I ended up listening to Sports Talk Radio all week. I think there’s 2 sides to the story and I don’t think it’s all Deron Williams fault. I just think it’s sad that it all happened the way it did and it will be years before we get the whole story. 

The thing that gets me the most about this entire drama, is that the people who never awarded him with Coach of the Year in 23 years are now singing his praises. Where were they when he deserved the award – especially when he lost out to just an okay coach with a star player? The double standard makes me crazy.

Craig was never a big TV sports fan, he always said he'd rather play or watch our kids play. But we usually watched the playoffs each year. ( Today he is a big football and basketball fan.)We used to root for the Portland Trailblazers in the Clyde (heavy sigh) Drexler and Cliffie Robinson days. Back then, they used to broadcast more post game comments. One thing I noticed was that most teams would blame their teammates or the officials or find some excuse for their losses. EXCEPT the Jazz. I remember falling in love with them as they were interviewed and Karl( heavier sigh) Malone, John Stockton, Jeff Hornaceck and Coach Sloan would give the other team compliments and each take responsibility for their loss. I was so impressed. Plus they were always the under dogs and I love an underdog. That's how it all began. And that is one reason I so dislike that purple and yellow team, because they never take responsibility for their mistakes. Plus they are snarky. From the players and coach to the management and announcers. And they have no heart. But I digress. . .

Diane Worthington and I both adore our Utah Jazz, and we were able to attend a few games when they played the Clippers or that other NBA team in our area. One year we got amazing, bargain tickets at the Honda Center in Anaheim and we were about 10 rows behind the bench. Diane and I were the lone Jazz fans in our seating area, and we were very enthusiastic with our cheering. For some reason, Jerry would look back in our direction and he seemed to be staring at me.TRUE STORY!  Diane will confirm this. Then, at the next game, Jerry once again could not take his eyes off me. So of course he has a special place in my heart.

It really is an end of an era, with new players, dopey new uniforms and team colors, and now a new coach.  When they wear green they look like the Celtics.  Maybe that isn't all bad.  But I still love my Utah Jazz.  And it's been nice to see Karl Malone again!

I got a chuckle out of this article that Diane sent me from the Feb 10, 2011 Deseret News by Logan Dunn:
Quotes by Utah Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan

# 14 - "I'm not looking for another job. My wife has a job for me when I get home." Said Feb. 10, 2011 at the press conference where Jerry Sloan announced his resignation.

# 13 - "Kind of like Miss America. She gets what she wants."
"He draws so much attention that if you give too much help, somebody else is open; if you don't give enough help, he's got what he wants. It's kind of like Miss America. ... You know she gets what she wants." Said in May 2010 comparing Kobe Bryant to Miss America.

# 12 - "I don't know if we're scared of wolves or what."
 "Minnesota has given us trouble from day one for whatever reason," "I don't know if we're scared of wolves or what." Said March 2010 after the Jazz lost twice to the 14-win Timberwolves.

# 11 - "My job is to win"
"My job is to win, and I told him, like anybody else: 'If I have to win with the shortest guy on the team playing your position, (so be it). I'd rather have it the other way around, if I can do it, but I have to do what I can to win." Said following an argument between Sloan and Ostertag after Sloan benched Ostertag for picking up a few fouls early in a 2003 Jazz-Suns game.

# 10 - "A lot easier playing this than playing bingo"
“Hope they realize they can feed their family a lot easier playing this than playing bingo.”  Said at the 2010 Jazz training camp to Utah Jazz hopefuls.

# 9 - "Heart is what makes a difference"
"Size doesn't make any difference; heart is what makes a difference." A typical Sloan pick-me-up with the kicker coming in when he related the above quote to the other team: "These guys over there want to make the playoffs more than we do."

# 8 - "The most important thing in sports is to keep trying"
“These guys have been criticized the last few years for not getting to where we’re going, but I’ve always said that the most important thing in sports is to keep trying. Let this be an example of what it means to say it’s never over.” Sloan after his team defeated the Houston Rockets in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals to advance to the 1997 NBA Finals. A quote to go down as one of the classic NBA quotes on never giving up.

# 7 - "You can't jackpot around"
 “I'm still not really happy with (Fesenko) being happy-go-lucky," Sloan said. "He's a young kid - and young guys have a tendency that they want to have some fun. I don't have too much of a problem with that. But it sometimes it interferes with their progress. You know, you can't jackpot around and get better.” Said to Fesenko, who was blasted by coach Sloan for "just going through the motions." Sloan said he needed to "learn to compete" after an Oct. 2009 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

# 6 - "18 years... Even in a marriage, that's a long time." 
We've been together 18 years. . . . Even in a marriage, that's a long time." Sloan 2002, speaking of his relationship with Karl Malone.

# 5 - "Playing in tuxedos”
“Basically what we've been doing is playing in tuxedos.” Said in 1997 after 13 straight wins. Sloan was worried about how the Jazz would respond to a good team after having things fairly easy.

# 4 - "I haven't been nasty enough"
“We're not a nasty team...I take full responsibility for that, because I haven't been, probably, nasty enough with them.” Sloan said after a 113-100 loss at the start of a first-round playoff series with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009.

# 3 - "Get your ice picks out"
“Hey, get your ice picks out. Get all your stuff solved. Go out in the parking lot. Do whatever you have to do, to get all the nonsense taken care of, so we can play basketball. Let's get back to the business of basketball." Said after a 2004 loss against Portland, setting the Jazz to two games under .500 for the first time that season, and marking their fourth loss in a row.

# 2 - "That'll get you a toothpick and a glass of water"
 “That'll get you a toothpick and a glass of water when you're hungry... Nobody cares about that." Said Nov. 2010 after pulling off three straight wins against the Clippers, Heat and Magic while trailing by 10 points or more at halftime. A feat no one had done since 1954.

# 1 - "We can't put diapers on him one night, and a jockstrap the next"
"He came out kind of soft. I mean, I don't care if he's 19 or 30. If he's going to be on the floor in the NBA, he's got to be able to step up and get after it. We can't put diapers on him one night, and a jockstrap the next night. It's just the way it is." Said by Sloan about C.J. Miles, age 19 then, right after a less than ideal performance in his second season.

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