Thursday, January 22, 2009

Jazz Fan

Living in Salt Lake City for the majority of my life has put me in position to get to know an incredibly strange and intriguing member of our little sports world: Jazz Fan. Jazz Fan is a great and endless source of entertainment to me and I appreciate him for it.

If you ever read national basketball columnists, experts, and bloggers, they all seem to agree that Jazz Fan is one of the most rabid around the NBA. Energy Solutions Arena is consistently one of the loudest, most difficult places for other teams to play. The basketball writers all seem to agree on another thing: that Jazz Fan isn't very knowledgeable. How they come to that conclusion, I don't know. I only know that they go to games around the whole league in many different arenas and all seem to agree that Jazz Fan doesn't know his shit. In knowing and interacting with Jazz Fan on a day to day basis, I would have to agree. But you know what bugs me most about Jazz Fan? The Persecution Complex they all seem to have. Here are a few major themes of that Complex:

1. The Refs Hate Us: Most fans probably think this, but Jazz Fan takes it to a whole other level. I can't even go to the Energy Solutions Arena anymore because all it consists of is me listening to the fans bitch the ENTIRE GAME about the officiating. This seems more important to them than the score or really any other factor in the arena that night. This is especially true when facing Kobe Bryant. See, the NBA has a conspiracy to keep the Jazz out of the finals because it wants Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in the finals. Or something like that.

2. Nobody Respects Us: Come on already, anybody who knows anything about the NBA and it's history highly respects the Utah Jazz organization. David Stern recently named owner Larry H Miller one of the best 3 owners over his time as commissioner on a Bill Simmons podcast. Just because you aren't on National TV a lot doesn't mean no one respects you, it means that you don't have any huge stars and you aren't elite enough to be on TV over many teams. (Boston-elite team. LA-elite team, plus Kobe Bryant, Cleveland-LeBron James and so on.)

3. John Stockton is the best pure point guard ever/is better than Isiah Thomas: Stop it. Putting emphasis on the word pure will never make John Stockton better at point guard than Magic Johnson. Never. Ever. Ever. The only thing Stockton did better than Magic was outside shooting. He wasn't a better passer or better defender. And don't give me the assists record or the steals record. Both are longevity records, which are always overrated. The assists record is lame and I think assists are the most overrated stat in sports, but I digress. (PS-Magic averaged more assists per game than Stock.) As for the steals record, Stockton was an average on-ball defender who had to rely on trickiness after he got beaten to get so many steals. Jazz Fan forgets that game after game the opposing point guard lit the Jazz up. They should have nightmares of Gary Payton, Jason Kidd, Isaih Thomas, and especially Kevin Johnson. People seem to be fairly divided on the Isiah/Stockton debate. Look at this list. 8 of 14 experts put Isiah over Stockton, but it is a good debate. Now, I would put Stockton above Isiah barely, but Jazz fan thinks it's a slam dunk and can't believe Isiah is even in the conversation. I mean, come on, Stockton is the all-time leader in assists.

4. Karl Malone is the best Power Forward of All-Time: Amazingly, I find in my conversations that most Jazz Fans think that Stockton was a better player than Malone, which I can't even fathom. Take Stockton off the team and the Jazz were still a solid playoff team because of Malone. Take Malone off the team and the Jazz were pure lottery. Who was Stockton going to get all those assists to, Blue Edwards? I put Karl Malone at #2 all-time, behind Tim Duncan. Jazz Fan tends to forget about Tim Duncan in this discussion. But mad props to Karl Malone, by far the best player to ever don the Jazz uniform. I wonder if Karl drops to number 3 if KG can lead Boston to another title or 2.

5. Deron Williams is better than Chris Paul: This is the worst one, and I have to hear about on local sports radio all the time. Now, head to head, Deron Williams plays very well against Chris Paul and has usually gotten the best of their match ups. His size seems to really disrupt Paul. But you can't judge a player based on one match up, and Chris Paul causes more problems league wide that Williams does. There just isn't a single thing that Willams does better than CP3. Paul is a better shooter, passer, rebounder, defender, is more efficient, and seems to me to be the better overall leader, taking a team of no-names (who ever heard of David West before Paul got there?) and previous misfits (Tyson Chandler) and leading them to 50 win seasons.

Those are the major things I've heard about over the last 30 years. But that list isn't everything. Let's not forget the following things heard over the years:
Bryon Russell is going to be an All-Star this year. (heard every year during the mid 90's. Number of All-Star bids: The same number I've had)
Michael Jordan pushed Russel out of the way in the NBA Finals. (he did, but they don't call that at the end of the game, and don't forget that Malone got away with a "bear hug" pick on Charles Barkley on that classic shot that sent Utah to the finals.)
Carlos Boozer is tanking it and should be traded(despite the surgery on his knee)
Karl Malone is a traitor for going to LA his last year (even though Utah made it clear they didn't want him back.)
Jerry Sloan marches a group of scrubs to the playoffs every year (only the years he's had All-Stars)
If Utah was in the East, they would take the #1 seed every year (heard the last 4-5 years.)
Jerry Sloan should be coach of the year (this one is true. Sloan has been cornholed a number of times on this one, but make no mistake, everyone in the world respects the shit out of Sloan.)

Anyway deep down inside I love Jazz Fan. He may say insane things and be delusional about the Jazz' chances year in-year out, but he is true blue, and for that I salute him.


Anonymous said...

Boyd, I enjoyed how you used the term "Jazz Fan" and the picture of the mailman in a leatarde is priceless.


Che said...

Whadup Rage Kage? Good call on the Mailman pic, it struck a chord deep within my homo-erotic soul. On the whole, I agree with most of this article: Jazz Fan has a very knee-jerk reaction to anyone it perceives as "not fully respecting Utah", and is especially suspicious of its own players not wanting to be here. As for the CP3/D-WILL debate, Chris is obviously the better PG at this juncture, but I think they each need a few more seasons before anything substantial can be claimed. They're both in the "Penny Hardaway is the next Michael Jordan" stage of the game, and D-Will could prove to be better for longer (come on career-ending knee injury Chris Paul!). One thing is certain, they both lost in the Best Nickname category. Let's get more creative than abbreviations of names and jersey numbers. How bout Deron "Babyface Assassin" Williams, or Chris "Carlton" Paul. Ok, CP3 can think up a beter nickname, but he does look a lot like Carlton from Fresh Prince. All I'm saying, is I grew up on fables of the legends that went like this, "They called him Iceman, cause he had icewater in his veins," or "They called hime the Mailman, cause he always delivered. I just don't want to have to tell my kids, "They called him CP3, cause his first name was Chris, his last name was Paul, and his jersey number was 3!"

Think of the children!