Posted by: Kaleb on June 29th, 2011The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
I don’t live in Utah, but I have some family there and was visiting last weekend. I had an interesting experience. I noticed that one of my cousins, whose family is full of Jazz fans, had his keys on a LA Lakers keychain. I asked, “How can you live this close to the Jazz and be a Lakers fan?” His response? “Well, I used to be a Jazz fan, but I got irritated with the whole not-winning thing, so I became a Lakers fan.” He added that this was in the days of the Shaq/Kobe tandum, which also told me that it was in the days of seemingly never-ending championships.
This is something that Jazz fans have to deal with. As good as we have been in the history of the franchise, the back-to-back-to-back-to-back playoff appearances and the perennially contending teams, we have zero titles to the name of the Jazz. It would be so easy to ditch the small-market hometown team for the bright lights of the big-market franchises.
If ever there was a time that the Jazz would lose fans, it was last season. Mid-season we lost our rock and our guide for 20+ years when Jerry Sloan stepped down unexpectedly. Shortly thereafter, we lost our star point guard in a trade for a veteran, less talented point guard, an unproven rookie, and some draft picks. The rest of the season tailspun and we limped into the first losing season in quite a long time. The Jazz scene after these events seemed desolate. If ever there was a time to bail on the franchise, it was then (and I’m sure some people did).
Now, after the 2011 NBA draft, I feel like the Utah Jazz have turned a corner on the way back from their short vacation from respectability. It’s hard to believe that Tyrone Corbin, a l0ng-time student of Sloan, won’t have success coaching in this league. We are collecting some pieces to a brand-new championship-contending roster. While some teams (particularly the big-market franchises) are constructed to win now, the Jazz are building themselves up to win in the future.
When I think of the future of the Jazz, I see visions of what could be. Devin Harris driving the lane, drawing defenders and kicking it out to Hayward for the open 3. Derrick Favors anchoring the defense and Al Jefferson blocking shots like the beast that he is. In an ideal world, I see nearly never-ending Early-Oops (pending on the availability of Earl, that is) and Paul Millsap as an annual contender for Sixth Man of the Year. Yes, through tough times, true Jazz fans (like the ones I suspect are reading this post) see a bright future.
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