October ’79 was a crazy mixed-up time full of Sony Walkmans and mood rings; Village People and disco balls. I was just a pimple-faced dork, complete with bad hygiene and a voice as squeaky as my Converse All-Stars when YOU first walked into my life.
I was fresh off the rebound from my first love, Farrah Fawcett and you were coming off a breakup and was just looking for someone to care. You were new in town and seemed unsure of yourself. So unwanted! So vulnerable! You walked into my life, the aroma of Cajun jambalaya still thick in the air, a lone string of Mardi Gras beads hung haphazardly around your neck. Yet, you looked so incredibly HOT in that wacky getup! What was it? PURPLE, GREEN, and GOLD? Elvis Presley himself couldn’t have pulled that off! But somehow you did. Utah Jazz, you had me at Hello!! It’s been 28 years since you moved from New Orleans. 28 years later and we are still together.
Since you traded in your shrimp gumbo for brine shrimp and Mardi Gras for General Conference, we have had plenty of good times. However there have also been plenty of bonehead moves that I have got to get off my chest. Years ago, there was a classic Seinfeld episode where Frank Costanza came up with his own holiday. He called it Festivus and one of it’s main traditions was the Airing of Grievances, where you lovingly “gather your family around and tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year”. So, looking back over the history of the Jazz, it’s time to gather around the aluminum Festivus pole for my inaugural Airing of Grievances, which has been many years in the making:
We’ll take Gail Goodrich for 500, Alex: When the New Orleans Jazz signed free agent Goodrich from the Lakers they had to give up a first round pick which eventually ended up being a guy named Earvin Magic Johnson. Could Showtime have played in SLC without Kareem and Jack Nicholson? How about with Ben Poquette and Rich Kelly?
I’ve got my mind on my money and my money on my mind: A cash-starved Utah Jazz trade Dominique Wilkins, The Human Highlight Film, and his 47” vertical to Atlanta. In return they get John Drew and Freeman Williams and cash. Just not enough cash to pay for all the drug rehab for both washed up players. And not enough cash to dry my tears for not ever seeing Dominique throw down a windmill dunk in a Jazz uniform.
He’s only the NBA’s leading scorer: The Adrian Dantley trade for Detroit’s Kent Benson (4.5 points) and Kelly Tripucka (10.1). It was too bad we couldn’t have kept the NBA’s leading scorer and Frank Layden happy. I know they were thinking addition by subtraction on this one but imagine John Stockton having Karl Malone and Dantley to pass to year after year? If nothing else I would think there would have to be a better blockbuster deal than this.
“He hates these cans”: Luther Wright, Jazz 1993 First round pick: 15 total games, 19 total points and one major meltdown where Luther was found banging on garbage cans at a rest-stop in the middle of the night! Who was minding the store on this one?
At least give us Eva: Tony Parker was still available when the Jazz were on the clock for the 2001 draft, but instead chose gimpy-kneed point guard Raul Lopez instead. But, in the end we got desperate help from Deron Williams and Parker got Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria so it was a win-win.
And a few of the rest: Trading my favorite Blue Edwards was like a punch to the gut. Letting Mo Williams go, choosing Curtis Borchardt while Tayshaun Prince and Carlos Boozer were still available. Not starting D-Will from day one, letting Dee Brown walk, protecting Jarron Collins and not Sasha Pavlovic during the expansion draft and substitution by time-clock just to name a few.
Well, Utah Jazz, if this is all I came up with after all these years you must be doing something right. So here’s to the next 28 years and a Happy Festivus to all and to all a good night.