Before Utah Jazz radio announcer Ron Boone ever strapped on a headset, he used to strap on the old sneakers where he put the func in the now-defunct Utah Stars. The Booner lit up the ABA while dominating with the red, white and blue ball and later retired with the Jazz. Since then, Salt Lake City has seen a few other Rons come and go. From the political, (Reagan) to the musical, (I went to a Ronnie James Dio concert once) to the creepy red-headed afro clowns (McDonald).
And speaking of clowns, let’s not forget Ron Artest. While thankfully not ever a Jazz member, this Stephen Hawking in shorts, actually applied for a job at Circuit City during his rookie season with the Chicago Bulls, just to get the employee discount. He arrived at a game once in a bathrobe and broke teammate Michael Jordan’s ribs in a pickup game!
As an Indiana Pacer, Artest asked for A MONTH OFF during the REGULAR SEASON to promote his upcoming RAP ALBUM! Then two weeks later, there was the minor incident in Detroit when he ran into the stands and attacked a fan who had thrown his beer at him. This sparked the biggest brawl the NBA has ever seen. He was suspended 73 games and was politely asked to turn in his Mensa membership. The silver-lining for Artest was that he then had plenty of spare time to promote his new album Call Me Crazy!, which sold 9 copies.
Then there was Rony (pretty boy) Seikaly who famously didn’t play in Salt Lake City. He, along with his Sports Illustrated swimsuit model wife, refused a trade from a lukewarm Orlando Magic team to the red-hot Utah Jazz team in 1998. He vetoed the trade reportedly because he loved the way his reflection gazed dreamily back at him from the Atlantic Ocean.
Well, it’s time for all you Pseudo-Rons to step off because there is a new Ron in the house. He is Ronnie Brewer, 2006 first-round pick of the Jazz, son of Ron Brewer, 1978 first-round pick of the Portland Trail Blazers. But he looks like he could have been the creation of Ron Popeil, the infomercial king. His company, Ronco, gave hope to the bald with the classy Ronco Hair-in-a-Can and eternal happiness to the housewife, with the Veg-O-Matic. This new concoction could be called the Ronnie Brewer Slash-O-Matic. He slices, dices and scores at will, but wait, there’s more! He is the Jazz leading scorer so far in the pre-season.
While Kevin O’ Connor scoured every playground and gym from Paris, Idaho to Paris, France looking for a shooting guard, the best one available was at the end of the Jazz bench, between the Gatorade and the guy running the Jazz Blimp. Brewer, the former Arkansas star, has been attacking the basket like the feral hog, or Razorback, he is. He has not only dropped the gauntlet on the rest of the wannabe shooting guards, he dunked it, slammed it and was fouled in the process.
Brewer is averaging over 18 points per game after the first 5 games and his field goal percentage is at .614 and he is not being spoon-fed anything. He is creating his own opportunities and most of his points are coming on a mixed assortment of driving dunks and spinning lay-ups and getting fouled on top of that. He is also knocking down 91% from the free-throw line.
Among the other guards, Morris Almond has the sweetest release and is probably the best pure shooter on the team but will take time to develop. Ronnie Price and Jason Hart are the 2007 versions of Devin Brown and Milt Palacio, a pair of journeymen NBA guards who will end up playing a year or two with the Jazz before they end up in Europe. Neither is knocking my socks off yet. CJ Miles has wilted like a dried-out rhododendron with a shooting percentage south of baseball’s Mendoza line (below .200). Gordan Giracek hasn’t been able to hit the broad side of Croatia lately. Defensively, they have all looked atrocious at times.
So, I think the decision is crystal-clear. However if history is any guide, on opening night when the starters are announced, I expect to see Ronnie Brewer walk over and sit next to the Gatorade as he watches the veteran Hart or Giracek take the floor. And if that happens we should all break out the Razorback cheer…Woooooooo, Pig Sooie!, Wooooo Pig Sooie! Woooooo Pig Sooie! Razorbacks! And maybe that will get our point across.