Posted by: Ryan Walker on November 8th, 2012The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
There are certain sounds in life, and more specifically in sports that seem to make their way through the ear, and hit us somewhere closer to our hearts. The sharp crack that a wooden bat makes when hitting a home run in a Major League ballpark, the ear-splitting ping of a Tiger Woods driver off the tee, the deafening silence of an NFL crowd as it watches the ball sail through the uprights on a game-winning kick, and finally the crisp and quick ‘Swoosh’ that a basketball makes as it falls perfectly through the hoop. As Utah Jazz fans we had the great opportunity to watch one of the silkiest smooth strokes in recent history for over 7 years, that stroke probably produced more ‘Swooshes’ in a season than most enjoy over a career, and today, the owner of that stroke retired from the NBA.
I’m not sure if I can think of a single other player in recent memory whose shots were more crisp and clean than the Money Man’s were. With his high release, smooth flick of the wrist, and high-arcing shot, only one word comes to mind— Pure. There were certain stretches of his play that I remember thinking to myself I don’t know if this man ever draws iron on his jump shots! At 6′11″ Memo definitely didn’t fit the mold of an NBA center, he lived on the perimeter and during their time together he and D-Will absolutely ate teams up with their simple pick and pop. I think it’s safe to say that Memo probably benefited most from Deron’s aggressive, penetrating style of play. Wide open 3’s weren’t that hard to come by, but it’s the contested and pressure-packed shots that i’ll remember him for.
During those 7 years we saw our Utah Jazz return to a relevant piece of the NBA puzzle, and enjoyed some very good success- returning to the Western Conference Finals during Memo’s All-Star season. I have a soft spot for those D-Will, Memo, Ronnie B, and Boozer teams and I always knew with the game on the line I wanted the ball in Deron’s or Memo’s hands. It wasn’t just his style of play that i appreciated, but it was his love and passion for the game and his overall attitude towards life. (from an outsider’s perspective of course) During interviews he always seemed happy and upbeat, and I believe that he truly loved the Utah Jazz and it’s fans.
For me, Mehmet Okur is one of the 10 best players in Jazz history. He had career averages of 13.5 points and 7 rebounds per game over 1o years, and during his time with the Jazz he ranks fourth all-time in 3-pointers made with (517), and ninth in scoring (7,255), rebounding (3,599) and blocked shots (346). He was an All Star during the 2006-2007 season, and won an NBA championship with the Detroit Pistons in 2004. Although injuries cut his career short, i’ll truly miss watching the Money Man go to work. Thinking of him and his glory days brings back memories of great and exciting Jazz teams, the kind of team I hope we’ll be able to see again very soon. With our batch of young talent, and established veterans I feel they might be closer than we think. Go JAZZ!!!
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