It’s early September 1979, my best friend Nathan and I climbed into our brown ’72 Pontiac Le Mans, chauffeured by my Dad, and proceeded to take the 20-minute drive to Ogden’s Dee Event Center. Most likely the windows were rolled down because my Dad didn’t believe in AC, and the radio was tuned to some static-filled AM news station if he had his say. If I was the DJ, I am sure we were listening to Rock 99.5 or 103.5 hoping to catch the latest
For months I had read with much excitement of how the troubled New Orleans Jazz wanted to leave their past behind and head for some clean-livin’ in Utah. The differences were striking, for in
The move was approved and the Jazz moved to
That first pre-season game was against George McGinnis and the Denver Nuggets and being a 15-year old connoisseur of autographs, I wanted to add McGinnis to my sizeable collection of signatures. Sizeable meaning two: Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon and L.A. Ram Merlin Olsen. We arrived early and maneuvered our way down near the player’s tunnel to get closer. Finally we got our chance and excitedly shoved a paper and pen in McGinnis’ face and he happily scribbled out his name. We did it! We had documented signed proof that we annoyed someone famous and couldn’t have been happier.
Later on as we puzzled over the scribbled name, the “G” began to look more like an “O” and the “M” sort of resembled a “B”. Having read about McGinnis more than seeing him play we began to wonder if we had the right man. It finally dawned on us that it wasn’t the 6-time all-star McGinnis’ signature we had possession of and after much forensic work we found out we were proud owners of an Odell Ball autograph. Odell Ball, a graduate of
Time flies and ‘like sands through the hourglass’ the Jazz have played something like 2366 regular season games since and scores of playoff games. I recently was able to return the favor and take my Dad, now 80, to his first Jazz game since the