An Apology from a Utah Jazz Fan
Perhaps it was appropriate that the 76ers were in town for the latest Jazz fan embarrassment. Philly, the city known for having some of the most ruthless fans in any sport, has a sister city in the west: Salt Lake City.
For the past year, Jazz fans have developed the reputation of being classless hicks. The ESA (Delta Center) has always been known to be one of the toughest places to play in the NBA for opposing teams. The fans are right on top of the court and some sit right next to the player benches. By giving the fans one of the greatest fan experiences in the NBA, Larry H. Miller has created a monster.
I’ve been following the Jazz my whole cognitive life, and this is the worst I have ever seen Jazz fans. Sure, there have always been a few morons at games, but it seems like this level of idiocy has been spreading. I’d like to know what started it. We’ve always had loud and obnoxious fans, and they’re entitled to be, but they’ve started crossing the line. Here are the incidents in the past year:
1. During the playoff series with Oakland last year, Stephen Jackson and Jason Richardson both reported hearing racial comments during the first two games at the ESA. You don’t have to think long what word was used. And even though it was just a couple of idiots, Jazz fans were labeled as racist.
2. Following a game 4 loss to the Spurs in the next round, many more Jazz “fans” started throwing numerous objects on the court at the Spurs and referees. They weren’t throwing batteries, but that’s only because they stop selling them after the third quarter. And it’s not like Donaghy was involved.
3. November 30, 2007 – Derek Fisher is booed in his return to Utah. Here’s the logic. It’s obvious that Fisher didn’t want to be in Utah and conveniently had his daughter develop retinoblastoma so that he could bail on the Jazz. They had been leaving her out in the sun all day to try to give her skin cancer, but that was taking too long. But finally their evil plan worked. Finally, they had a way out. It would be easy to convince Miller to simply let him walk away from his contract. It happens all the time. Wait; it doesn’t? Okay, so maybe they didn’t plan it, but I guarantee that when they found out about their daughter’s condition, the first thing they thought was, “How do we use this to our advantage? Hmmmm. Hey, it’s our ticket out of Utah!” And there was much rejoicing in the Fisher household.
How redamndiculous to you have to be to believe that he left under anything but honorable circumstances? Has Fisher ever given any indication in his entire career that he is anything less than an honest man? Maybe there were some unusual circumstances surrounding his signing with the Lakers and firing his agent shortly after, but doesn’t he deserve at least the benefit of the doubt?
Oh, and did I mention he left $21 million on the table? And did I mention that it freed up the Jazz to start Ronnie Brewer? Oh, and we also saved a ton of cash to be able to resign Williams? And maybe it looks like we could use a little veteran presence in the locker room?
4. Poor Giricek never stood a chance. If we were going to boo a man whose daughter has cancer, then the man who has played decent ball for three and a half years for the Jazz was even more deserving of scorn. Here’s my original take on it. He hadn’t been liked by Sloan from the beginning. I imagine it’s not easy playing for Sloan. It’s amazing that there aren’t more players that clash with him. He’s just that type of guy. Giricek may have been looking for his own shot and breaking the offense because he’s in a contract year, but he’s been solid for the most part. And yet, he gets traded, for which he has almost no say or control, and now he’s public enemy number one? We make a trade that makes the team better and he’s to blame? I wonder how many times management has had to keep players from leaving because of Sloan that we don’t hear about. We almost lost AK for crying out loud. Booing Giri makes as much sense as me trying to explain to my two-year-old why jello doesn’t go down your pants; it’s just wasted energy.
When did it become so much worse? You can’t blame it on alcohol because everyone knows that Miller doesn’t allow it into the arena. He’s been serving O’Douls for the past twenty years and nobody’s known. Unless it’s the Cheer’s effect. Maybe since Energy Solutions bought naming rights to the place, they’ve been stashing their nuke waste under the seats. Maybe it’s because we don’t have any of the other big four pro teams where we can vent our frustration.
I think maybe it’s because we’re a little cocky. We won the NW division and ousted the Rockets and Warriors before meeting our doom. And now this slump that the Jazz have gone through is the gods’ way of humbling the fans. They’ve got to before we see another “Malice at the Palace.”
Whatever it is, I apologize on behalf of real Jazz fans.
And once again, maybe it was fitting to have Mo Cheeks in attendance on Wednesday. Here’s the man that showed the ultimate class when he helped a struggling little girl sing the national anthem. It’s a good thing it didn’t happen in Salt Lake, though, because we would have booed the hell out of the little loser.