I remember that I was 6 years old and I was a Lakers fan. That’s right, a Lakers fan. I don’t remember exactly why but my best guess is I probably saw them on national TV on Sundays. What I do remember is talking to my dad one day about how much I wish I could go to a pro basketball game. “Well” said my dad “We do have a pro basketball team here in Utah.” “WE DO!!” I said, “I didn’t know that!” I don’t know long it took after that conversation but some time after that during the 1986-87 basketball season my dad took me to my first Utah Jazz game at the old Salt Palace. Coincidentally enough against the Lakers. I had the time of my life at that game even though I remember our seats being very high up. I fell asleep at some point during the end of the 3rd quarter or beginning of the 4th. I woke up in the car on the way home to my dad listening to the 4th quarter on the radio. The Jazz lost that night, but it didn’t matter; I was hooked. No more Lakers, I was all about the Jazz. Honestly I think I became a Jazz fan at a very good time. I’m too young to remember Pistol Pete and Adrian Dantley playing for the Jazz but I sure do remember Ricky Green, Dell Curry, Golden Griff, Big T Thurl Bailey, Mark Eaton, Karl Malone, John Stockton and Bobby Hansen who were on the roster that year. I will also never forget the 1987-88 season which produced the epic semifinal 4-3 loss to the Lakers. That was as entertaining of a series there will ever be. They are the favorite of my favorite sports teams. When John Stockton hit the shot to send the Jazz to the NBA Finals for the first time in the 1996-97 season I was outside banging pots and pans and screaming like in was New Year’s Day. When friends of mine at school would ask me how I was doing I would respond by asking them if the Jazz won or lost the night before. The team’s success literally dictated my mood for the next day. As I’ve grown older and matured, I am able to control my outward display of disgust or enjoyment of the team much better than when I was in high school but the passion for the Utah Jazz remains. I care about this team, deeply. I have seen the other teams I root for win 4 championships during my lifetime and it’s great to see it happen. None of those, however, would hold a candle to the joy I would feel seeing the Jazz win a championship! So consider this a warning; my goal is to accurately document to the world the ups and downs, ebbs and flows of a passionate Jazz fan. If you are looking for rah, rah, rah the Jazz are perfect all the time, please read something else. I will always be cheering this team on but will be critical when needs be and this season has given us plenty to be critical about. As a reminder to head coach Ty Corbin and all the Jazz players though, we wouldn’t be critical if we did not care. Be very afraid if our criticism turns into apathy. I trust that the Miller family, Kevin O’Connor and Dennis Lindsey will not let this happen for the long term but as Dennis Lindsey has publicly told us to bring the heat when deserved, that’s exactly what I’ll do. Because I want this team to be the best.
The Jazz are entering the most critical stretch of the season. After sitting pretty at 31-24 they have gone 2-8 in their last 10 games. Their next 5 games are at home vs. Memphis and New York and then on the road vs. Houston, San Antonio and Dallas. This stretch of games will make or break the playoff hopes of this season. The most disappointing thing I saw from the team last night was the lack of fight and urgency from the starters. The starters need to come out with energy and urgency in these games. They need to prove that making the playoffs means something. It’s night and day watching the starters and the bench. The bench comes in the game with fight and energy and actually look like they enjoy playing the game with each other. The starters look like it’s a chore and they can’t wait to go on vacation. This attitude adjustment is what I will be looking for the most against the Grizzles on Saturday. If they can win that game that will be an excellent start to this 5 game stretch. Big changes are coming next year, changes that I wanted to have happen this year. The team is what it is and there is nothing we can do about it at present. Let’s root this version of the Utah Jazz on to be the best the can be even with the philosophical differences we may have with the head coach (Those who follow me on twitter know that my opinion is the best lineup for this year’s team would be Mo, Burks, Hayward, Favors and Jefferson). Send out those positive vibes Jazz Nation! Here’s to this critical stretch of games being a successful one!