Jimbo’s Mailbag – 1997 Jazz Family Reunion

March 24th, 2017 | by Jimbo Rudding
(Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)

Some questions demand answers. Others demand Jimbo. Jimbo’s Mailbag is our regular dose of levity here at Salt City Hoops. Jimbo, by virtue of being recently featured in the Deseret News, is now the world’s most famous Utah-based basketball mailbag artist. You can submit questions to Jimbo at mailbag@saltcityhoops.com or by tweeting to @JimboRudding.

Q: How about that 1997 reunion, huh?


Oh boy! Where do I even start???

I was lucky enough to get tickets last minute, thanks to all the moron Utah residents who didn’t buy their tickets and sell out the place sooner. Do Utahns not realize how lucky you were to have had a great basketball team for so long? Do Utahns not know how lucky you are to get to cheer for a good, mentally healthy basketball team right now?

Seriously, why wasn’t this game sold out 10 minutes after they announced the reunion event? Billy Joel probably sold out the place faster than this reunion game and he’s an alcoholic with early onset dementia. Actually, I don’t know if any of that’s true, but c’mon Jazz fans, I expected better from you/us. I mock and scold you, but it’s only because I care. I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed. Now, why don’t you all go to your room and think about how you could’ve acted differently.

As awesome as the reunion was, there were a few people noticeably absent and a few things that just felt missing. As I am known to do, I have compiled a list of things I would like to have seen at the ’97 reunion celebration:

  • Karl Malone suited up and ready to take Diaw/Lyles’es minutes.
  • Dick Bavetta apologizing to Jazz Nation for screwing us out of an NBA Championship.
  • Michael Jordan admitting to pushing off and acknowledging that his “flu game” was really a “hungover game” after overdoing it in Vegas.
  • Jim Les (just so we could all make fun of him).
  • Derek Harper ashamedly whispering into the microphone, “You go live in Utah.”
  • My purple Jazz coat I used to wear to school every day.
  • Larry Miller
  • The fastest Subway sandwich artist in company history.
  • The “ARE YOU READY TO RUMBLE!?” guy.

One of the more amazing things that happened during the reunion was John Stockton and Bryon Russell recreating “the shot” at the Jazz’es’s practice facility. I still can’t believe that Stockton made it on the first try. This further proves my theory that Stockton isn’t human. He was created in a lab using a special government clay and old pinball machine parts.

Seriously though, the reunion was amazing. I’m so glad I went. That ’97 team was a big part of my childhood. I had to hold back tears through most of it, but that was only because I remembered how much money I lost betting on the ’97 Finals. I won’t say how much I lost on that bet, but I WILL say that if I the Jazz had won it all that year, I would’ve been the proud owner of a sick bullet bike and two tickets to see The Offspring.


Q: Any truth to the rumor that Hayward is going to leave the Jazz in the offseason to join the Trump Administration?


I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that that information is coming from fake news.

I don’t know if I’m mentally and emotionally prepared for this summer. Deep down in my heart of hearts I want to believe that nothing could make Gordon Hayward leave the good thing he has going here in Utah. Not even if another team hired a Subway sandwich artist to be at his every beck and call. Not even if he found a house with a WAY bigger video game dungeon in another city. Not even Trump himself would be able to persuade him.

On the other hand, in my heart of heart of hearts I could see him rethinking his situation if the right offer came along. One smooth-talking agent or team exec could come along and paint a fantastically misleading picture in his head and next thing you know, Gordon looks around and notices the winter inversions look grayer, the mountains look lamer, and the Classic Skatings’es look grosser. Then in the blink of an eyelid Gordon is playing for the Orlando Magic or some dumb team like that.

We fellow Utahns and Utah Jazz fans living abroad somehow must join forces and not let Gordon leave. I don’t think we should go overboard and hide his car keys or kidnap him or anything, I just mean we should go out of our way to make him feel more welcome in our community. If you’re moving, call Bailey’s Moving and Storage. If you’re unhappy with your current bank, maybe switch to America First Credit Union. If you’re hungry, head to a Fresh Market and eat an apple. Maybe none of that stuff will help, but good gracious, we’ve got to do SOMETHING!

I for one am going to do everything in my online power to convince Gordon to stay with the Jazz. I already have a few ideas jotted down, but I hope to narrow this down to a good handful before the season ends so as not to overwhelm him. Here are a few of my ideas:

  • Show he and his family my impression of Ernest (from the Ernest movies).
  • Dress up like a character from his favorite video game and let him shoot me with an air rifle (head is off limits).
  • Sign a contract to mow his lawn every week for the duration of his new contract.
  • Put up an American flag in his front yard every July 4th, Flag Day, and Memorial Day.
  • Take his Red Box movies back after he’s watched them.
  • Suggest wholesome, family-friendly shows on Netflix.
  • Let him borrow any of my board games anytime he wants (please be careful with Risk, the box is falling apart).
  • Be available to talk on the phone anytime he feels it’s necessary.
  • Let him have an hour of screen time on my iPad every day.
  • Offer to be the liaison between he and his HOA board.


Q: Does it bother you that Joe Ingles won’t give you the time of day? If you smelled of Vegemite, things might be different.


To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever met, or even tried to interact with, Joe Ingles. Also to be honest, I have no idea what Vegemite is… OK, I just looked it up on the Internet websites and now I know what it is… and it looks and sounds disgusting. Leftover brewer’s yeast with vegetable and spices, huh? No thanks, I’m still full from my dirt and campfire ash lunch.

This whole topic reminds me of when I was seven and bit into an oatmeal raisin cookie thinking it was a chocolate chip cookie. Not sure if you all know this, but there’s a BIG difference between a chocolate chip and a raisin. One tastes delicious and the other tastes like something that was never meant to be eaten by humans. Seriously though, I almost vomited. Haven’t put a raisin in my mouth since.

All that being said, I LOVE Joe Ingles like a brother I never met and would welcome him into my home with open arms while playing Journey’s “Open Arms” on my stereo in the background. He seems like a down-to-earth guy and those are the kind of guys I get along with best.


Q: Any truth to the rumor that Derrick Favors had that one practice with the Mailman a couple years ago and is still recovering?


Right?!?! What happened to that whole thing where Karl Malone was going to be an assistant coach/consultant to the big guys? What did he do, run them through a few reps of squats and then get bored? It’s like he practiced with Memo and Favors for a few minutes and then took off on a wild goose hunt or something. All those poor wild geese.

When they announced that Karl would be a part of the Jazz organization again, it was such a huge announcement that people statewide started working out again. Karl Malone coming back home! Terrific news! We were finally going to have a bunch of tough bigs on the team again. Ones who wouldn’t sit out because they “heard a pop.”

However, I don’t think he’s been in town for a year or so, if I’m not mistaken. I just miss him so much. Oh well. Maybe he’s tying up some loose ends in Louisiana so that he can move permanently back to Utah? Or maybe Karl’s just taking some much-needed PTO? Whatever it is, I just hope he’s happy.

Now, to address the other topic in your question—what happened to Derrick Favors? Why can’t his body heal? He’s in his mid-20’s, surely his body is young enough to rid itself of a nagging bone bruise, right? I mean, my uncle had to have his thumb reattached to his hand after a woodworking accident back in 1992 and he still won more family thumb wars than I care to remember.

Look, I’m no doctor, but has Favors tried an ice pack? Lorenzo’s oil? Maybe alternating hot and cold on the problem area? I really need to get Derrick’s contact information so that I can get to the bottom of this.


Q: Do you know what portal I might meet Robert Lund at? His music was groundbreaking.


That was another thing I didn’t like about the 1997 reunion—the players didn’t enter the court to one of Robert Lund’s hits from that year. Basketball John, Karl Malona, heck I would’ve even taken a good Low Book Sales jingle.

I guess coming out onto the court to The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” is the next best thing.


Q: Any idea where Karl was?


What a bummer that Karl and his family couldn’t make the reunion. It’s almost as sad as when my uncle couldn’t make our 2003 family reunion on account of his death.

I heard from someone that Karl Malone and his wife were celebrating the opening of low-income apartment buildings that they helped build. I guess that’s an OK reason not to come to the reunion… unless it isn’t true and they missed for some other reason like they finally got around to watching Stranger Things on Netflix and they really wanted to finish it. C’mon Malones! That show’s old news. Um, also, we have Netflix in Utah too, you know.

For a minute, it seemed like maybe it was a planned surprise and Karl was going to show up. The crowd was fooled till the last minute because when they showed his picture on the jumbotron, the place went nuts. It got so loud that you couldn’t even hear Dan Roberts say that the Mailman couldn’t make it. It was one of those classic “is he or isn’t he” situations.

When they announced Karl Malone’s name, they showed a short video of Karl talking about… something… honestly, I couldn’t hear at all. I was way up in the nosebleeds and I was dealing with an epic nosebleed that just hit me out of nowhere. I didn’t want to miss the festivities, so I tried to stop it with the sleeve of my jacket. When that didn’t work, I shoved a quarter up my nose and when THAT didn’t work, I added a dime and two pennies. When I finally got into bathroom after halftime there was so much blood that it looked like I had taken a Karl Malone elbow to the face. Also, I had to pry 67 cents from each nostril.


Thanks for the questions, you guys! Remember to tell your landlords about Jimbo’s Mailbag. Maybe print this one out and slip it in an envelope with a check for this month’s rent? Make it weird.

Jimbo Rudding

Jimbo Rudding

I am a typical Jazz fan. I think Jordan pushed off, Derek Fisher lied, Bavetta cost us at least one game in the Finals, we should have drafted Tony Parker instead of Raul Lopez, and there will never be anything better than the Stockton to Malone days. I, along with Spencer Campbell @SCampbellSBN, started the first and longest-running Utah Jazz podcast on earth. I enjoy the in-of-doors and telling people a better way of doing whatever it is they're currently doing.
Jimbo Rudding

One Comment

  1. Paul Johnson says:

    Da-da-da-da-da-dut, Karl Malona.

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