On the week of its retirement, I sat down with the former Jumbotron of both the Delta Center and Energy Solutions Arena to ask a few questions about its illustrious career with the Utah Jazz. Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Scott – 22 years. How does it feel to finally take a break after all these seasons?
Jumbotron – Well, it’s bitter sweet. I am glad I finally get to sit down for a change. But I’m always going to miss being at every home game.
S – Tell me how you got your start in this sport?
J – I had it easier than most actually. The Jazz had just built this fancy new stadium back in ‘91, that’s when it was still the Delta Center obviously. And they came calling. It sort of just fell in my lap.
S – Did you like it better as the Delta Center or as Energy Solutions Arena?
J – It doesn’t get much better than ol’ Delta Center. Those were the glory days. Nothing against Energy Solutions, but I think people were still confused about the name change. After 15 years, people didn’t know what to call it. Saying Energy Solutions Arena felt too long compared to the punchy Delta Center. While saying E-S-A confused people even more. So they’d just end up calling it the Delta Center anyway.
S – What is it you’re going to miss the most?
J – Honestly, it will probably be the fans. There’s not a better group fans in the whole NBA. I mean, granted, I’ve never been to another stadium, but it’s pretty obvious. These guys go crazy in here. Sometimes I can’t even hear Dan make the call for substitutions.
S – Dan?
J – You don’t know Dan? Dan Roberts? That’s the voice of the Utah Jazz! You’d recognize him if you saw him. He’s been sitting courtside the whole time I’ve been here. I think he’s even been making calls since the Salt Palace days.
S – Sounds like you guys are pretty close. Who else has had an impact on your career?
J – Oh boy, a number of people. All the players, coaches, media, even security guards. But I think more than anyone, it was probably Larry Miller.
S – Was he the one that hired you?
J – He brought me on, kept me happy. I’ve got electricity bills to pay just like everybody else. But I miss Larry every day. He was such a huge part of this organization. I think everyone would agree with me on that.
S – So if you had to name one favorite moment from all those years, what would it be?
J – Just one?
S – I’ll accept a few.
J – Well, there was the All-Star Game in ’93. I was still new to the league then. Or even outside of basketball, we hosted some of the Olympic sports in this building. And Bear has done so many wild stunts over the years, I can’t believe that guy outlasted me! But as far as my favorites, I think I’ve got two—a play and an event. The play has to be the Sundiata Gaines shot against Cleveland. Feel good story of the year, maybe my entire career. Gotta love beating Lebron, too! But the other moment was the reinstatement of the music note. We went through some dark years on the uniform front. The mountains were nice, I guess. But I don’t know what happened after that. What was that color? Copper or something? Then some weird purple/blue phase. It was a great day when we brought that music note back.
S – What about your least favorite moment?
J – Not a day goes by that I don’t think about this one. Unfortunately, we were on the other end of “The Shot” this time. I don’t think we need to go any further.
S – Who was your favorite player to watch in a Jazz uniform?
J – This is also a tough one to pick just one. Stockton and Malone are the easy answers. Deron had a few good years here in Salt Lake. But if I’m being honest, my favorite player might have been Antoinne Carr.
S – The Big Dawg???
J – THE BIG DAWG! It might sound crazy, but hear me out. He was nothing but lovable. He had the tough job of backing up the MVP in Malone. He even starred in some of the most memorable local TV commercials of all time. Remember those KSL Da-Da-Da commericals? He came in and helped us get over the hump and into the finals. But more than anything, he wore those shades indoors for every game! Such a champ. I can’t explain it, but I’ve got nothing but love for the Big Dawg.
S – What about visiting players?
J – This might be surprising to some, but I’d probably have to say Reggie Miller. That boy could shoot! And it always made it more entertaining with the amount he would run his mouth. Other than him, I always hated facing Kobe. Maybe because they seemed to knock us out of the playoffs so many years in a row. But I always got nervous when he touched the ball, because it almost always went in.
S – You stood eye level with the jerseys in the rafters every night. Which of those players had the biggest impact in your opinion?
J – Again, I could easily say Stockton and Malone. And “Pistol” didn’t even really play a full season in Utah. Most people don’t realize that. So it would be hard for me to choose him either. Plus it was well before my time with the Jazz. So I guess it would have to be Hornacek.
S – What was it you liked so much about Hornacek?
J – What’s not to like? He’s another one of those guys you just can’t help but cheer for. Killer three-point and foul shooting. Stingy defense. One of the best typical-white-guy haircuts in the NBA. And how adorable was that face rub routine of his?
S – You saw the Jazz go through a lot of ups and downs. What era was your favorite?
J – I think for this one, I’ll finally just have to give in and say the Stockton/Malone era. That obviously includes Coach Sloan too. You can’t separate those three very easily. Those were the glory days. And I think all of us as Jazz fans are just looking for the time when we get back to that.
S – What do you think really happened between Deron and Coach Sloan?
J – No comment.
S – How do you feel about where this organization is headed?
J – I’m excited. I think that’s the part I’m most sad about leaving. We’ve had a few rough years recently, but the organization seems committed to winning a championship. I won’t be there in person anymore, but you better believe I’ll be watching from home.
S – Have you heard much about your replacement?
J – You had to go there, didn’t you? Yeah, he seems like a nice guy. One of these young, talented guys. I can’t compete with guys like that anymore. It was time for me to go. And they paid him a lot! What was it, $15 million? Good for him.
S – Well, thanks for taking some time to chat with me. I’ll be sure to pass this info along to Jazz fans. Anything else you’d like to add?
J – Go Jazz!
Dramatization. The conversation between myself and the Jumbotron is completely fictitious. If you actually believed me, you have much bigger issues to worry about. Any and all events resembling real events or conversations is purely coincidental.