Wednesday, May 23, 2007

How Can You Not Root For The Utah Jazz?

As I have said in the past, I'm not a fan of any NBA team in particular. I used to follow Seattle years ago, but that was mostly because I was a fan of Gary Payton and his defense. Heading into this year's playoffs I really didn't have a team that I was "rooting" for. Golden State was a compelling story while they lasted, and it would have been nice to see Orlando do well because of their proximity to me. However, last night I decided to align myself with one team in particular, and I'll tell you why.

Yes, eventhough they just went down 0-2 against San Antonio, I've decided that I would like to see the Utah Jazz win it all. It's not so much that I like the Jazz organization better than the others, or that I remember the Stockton & Malone days, it's mostly about Jerry Sloan.

This is a guy who is "the longest tenured head coach in major league sports with a single franchise". At one point, he coached the Jazz to the playoffs for 16 straight years, and made it to the NBA Finals in two of those years, losing both times. The Jazz have experienced the thrill of advancing to the Western Conference Finals six times, and Sloan has been the coach for every single one of them. Yet, he's never won NBA Coach of the Year, eventhough he's 4th on the NBA's all-time win list, and is one of only five NBA coaches with 1,000 victories.

He's spent the last 19 years building and maintaining a successful and competitive NBA team in Salt Lake City of all places. Never giving in and moving on to more glitzy locales like Los Angeles, New York or Miami. No, Sloan has stuck with his team and its fans, and he deserves to be rewarded for that.

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