Posted by: Diana on January 7th, 2012The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
On Friday night, the top item on my sports bucket list was fulfilled. As an avid Jazz fan since I was a very young girl, what I experienced last night was a dream that I never in my life ever could have imagined being fulfilled. On Friday night I was a guest of Greg Miller, the owner of the Utah Jazz at the Jazz vs Grizzlies game.
If you would have told me even 36 hours ago that I would be having dinner and sitting court side with Greg Miller at the Jazz game on Friday night, I probably would have laughed and laughed. How would a fan like me with no connections whatsoever to Greg be his guest at the game?
It all started Friday morning with a tweet from Greg’s twitter account:
While usually I am online most mornings yesterday I was not, so I didn’t see the tweet when it was sent. Here is where the beauty of being part of the Utah Jazz’s Twitter family begins. Within minutes of the tweet being sent, because I had not responded immediately, I received many direct messages, twitter mentions, emails and facebook messages telling me to get on Twitter right away, Greg Miller is trying to get a hold of you, Diana, get on Twitter! I still had not responded to any of those messages and finally a phone call came.
Fellow Jazzbot David Smith was able to get my phone number from another Jazz friend and called and left me a message. Luckily I got his voice mail right away and was finally made aware of Greg’s incredibly generous invitation. While listening to the message from David I was pretty much in shock, thinking, “Greg wants me to do what, I have to call his assistant, what?!” After listening to the message a few times and calming down just a little I called Greg’s assistant. I was given the details of what would become one of the most amazing nights of my life.
Due to unfortunate bad luck I was late to the hour dinner that we were invited to have with Greg before the game. Being late had my heart crushed while I was making the 45 minute drive up I-15 from my house in Provo to the ESA in Salt Lake. I had a few moments of “why me” while driving but quickly reminded myself its not your fault your late, it will be just a few minutes and you still get to have dinner and watch the game with Greg freakin’ Miller!
When I arrived at the ESA I was greeted by a very friendly ticket-taker supervisor, Morton who escorted me down to the Lexus room where Greg and his two other guests were waiting for me. When I got to the table I apologized to Greg by saying “Mr. Miller, I am so sorry I am late” and gave him my reason. Greg said “Don’t worry about it and call me Greg”. Greg did tease me and said he was wondering if I even wanted to come tonight after the difficulty of getting a hold of me in the morning and then having to be a little late for dinner. I assured him that there was no other place I would rather be and he just laughed and laughed, immediately making me feel at ease.
One of the first questions I wanted to ask Greg was why us, why did we get an invitation to this incredible night? When I asked Greg why, he answered with a smile saying how he pays close attention to what fans are saying online via twitter and blogs, how we (myself, David and Clint) were great ambassadors for the team, how he sees how positive we are and how well we represent the Jazz organization through social media and wanted to reward us for being such great fans.
I smiled thinking of how to say thank you to such a kind remark. David knew right off what to say and it was quite humorous and I accidently spit out the piece of lettuce I was eating. I don’t think I’ve ever spit out food from laughing in my life and here I was doing it in front of the owner of the Utah Jazz! Once again Greg didn’t miss a beat to make me feel comfortable, he laughed and told me not to worry that he often sprays out food, never lettuce or food but soda when his kids or grandkids make him laugh.
Throughout the dinner I couldn’t get over how down to earth Greg was acting. I felt like he was just a regular guy, not a multi-millionaire who owned my favorite sports franchise!
Greg invited us to ask questions and showed interest in our lives. Greg asked me about my kids, my husband, my husband’s ’ 78 FJ40 (Landcruiser). The thing is that being around Greg was so comfortable that it didn’t feel like a question and answer session between owner and fans, it felt like just a regular conversation among friends.
During dinner we talked about such things as the new CBA, the players on the team this season, John Stockton, Karl Malone and of course his dad, Larry H. Miller. Greg shared a lot of what he learned from his dad and how he applies that knowledge to running the team today. Greg was very candid and open to our Jazz and NBA related questions.
Before we went in to watch the game, Greg presented each of us with a gift, we each received a silver Jazz note silver lapel pin. I was amazed at Greg’s generosity and kindness, here he was giving us a thoughtful gift on top of inviting us to dinner and the game!
Greg told us he wouldn’t be able to be around us during half-time or after the game because of his obligations in the locker room and that he normally doesn’t talk much during the game.
I was the lucky guest who was able to sit right next to Greg during the game (thank you, David and Clint)
Although Greg said he didn’t talk much during the game, Greg talked a lot during the game. Greg like any fan was engaged during the game, talking to the players, getting excited about good plays, upset with bad calls, more than anything I noticed that Greg was showing his love and passion for his players his team.
Our dinner conversation continued throughout the game. Greg and I talked about many things, we talked about Sloan, Corbin, Watson, Favors, Al, Millsap, CJ, Howard, Hayward, Kanter, pretty much every current player, and DWill, Memo and Jimmer. Greg shared with me how he is traveling more with the team this year than ever before. Greg wants to show during this transitional time for the Jazz that he cares. Greg wants to show more openly to the media and fans how much he cares for and how involved he is with the team. Greg traveled with the team to LA and to Denver already this year. Greg said the schedule is quite grueling and always gains more respect for the players and coaches when he travels with them and see’s what they have to do while traveling throughout the season.
Greg Miller loves the Utah Jazz. Greg Miller cares about the Utah Jazz. Greg and the Jazz are using social media in ways like no other team in the NBA. Greg and the Jazz are using twitter, Jazz blogs and Facebook to read what fans are saying about the team. Greg cares about what you say and he reads it. It may not be apparent to fans on twitter and blogs but Greg knows you and cares about how you feel.
Jazz fans, get involved in social media. It will enhance your fan experience more than you can ever imagine. If it wasn’t for social media I would not have experienced one of the most amazing nights of my life, of sitting court-side with Greg Miller.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.