Jimbo’s Mailbag – The End of the Jazz Bear?

October 23rd, 2015 | by Jimbo Rudding

Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/Getty Images

Welcome to the next edition of Jimbo’s Mailbag! At Salt City Hoops, we know that covering a team without any humor can be dreary. As such, we decided to add a little bit more levity to our site via Jimbo’s unique outlook on the world of Jazz basketball. Jimbo, by virtue of being recently featured in the Deseret News, is now the world’s most famous Utah-based basketball mailbag artist. Interested in submitting a question to Jimbo’s mailbag? Email it to Jimbo at mailbag@saltcityhoops.com or tweet @JimboRudding to appear.

Q: What is the deal with Exum? Can’t find news why he’s not playing. Would a cookie dough ACE bandage fundraiser help?


From everything I’m hearing, the Jazz coaches and front office want to make sure Dante’s surgery scar has healed completely before they let him play in any games. Apparently those scars have a tendency to open back up and bleed during rigorous activity and blood is SUPER hard to get out of wood. Believe me, I fell down our deck stairs when I was nine years old and the blood stains in the wood were one of the things the people who bought our house brought up during the negotiating period.

I would say it is pretty likely to VERY likely that Dante starts opening night against the Pistons. Am I a doctor? Well, my aunt used to be an x-ray technician, so technically that would make me a doctor in some fourth-world countries. But I don’t need to be a doctor to figure this stuff out. I went to the open scrimmage last Saturday and I saw Exum with my own two eyes walking around and dribbling a basketball. The surgery scar was still a little pink, but I didn’t see any blood whatsoever. Also, his calf had absolutely no atrophy that I could tell, so I’m saying he’s about 98% healthy at this point.


Q: Is it true that the Utah Jazz Bear was a pet that Karl Malone gave John Stockton and John set him free by giving him clothes?


I have never heard that story! It all makes sense though.

I remember when he debuted as the Jazz’ mascot back in 1994 and everyone was like, “A bear?! Why not a giant saxophone or a giant pioneer? That makes WAY more sense!” and my grandpa yelled out, “BE PATIENT! Let’s see how this plays out!” In my mind, it’s played out beautifully, Grandpa.

That being said, I’ve been telling most of my neighbors lately that the Jazz Bear may not be long for this world. Think about it, he HAS to be getting up there in age. If he was 25 in 1994, then that means he’d be like what…ugh, math…53 or so now? That’s like 112 in bear years!

According to Wikipedia, the Jazz Bear has suffered numerous injuries during his tenure. He’s had so many toboggan and mountain bike crashes over the years that his real face probably looks a lot like Jim Les’ does. How long can he keep falling off a giant ladder and doing the splits through the basket? Let me just say here that the only reason I assume the Jazz Bear is male is because whenever he slips and falls on his crotch, he appears to be in severe pain.

This leads me to my next question: Who could be the Jazz Bear’s replacement once he decides to hang up the stilts? Here are a few of my suggestions:

  • Steve Brown – Steve would be great at it. He already spends his time courtside anyway and word has it he has VERY flexible hamstrings.
  • Allen Handy – The only thing preventing Allen Handy from getting the job is his blonde locks would stick out from underneath the Bear head. The Jazz front office does NOT want teens to see that and get all excited that maybe Pamela Anderson is in there or whatnot.
  • My Uncle Dale – Uncle Dale would be PERFECT for the job since he’s always saying that he could do all the tricks that Bear does during the games. Plus, he has the time because he’s currently unemployed. He spends most of his time these days chatting with shoppers at C-A-L Ranch.
  • Mini-Bear – I don’t know if that’s his real name, but I just think it would be funny to watch the little person inside the normal Bear suit constantly tugging at the pants and legs so that he can walk normally. Is that mean?
  • A real bear – Hear me out here. What if we put a real black bear inside the Jazz Bear costume and just let him roam around the arena? Relax, I’m sure they would have a handler with him at all times so that he doesn’t attack any humans. The biggest obstacle might be to train him correctly so that he can get through his tricks without being distracted by all those nachos in the crowd. I don’t know. It could work, right?


Q: Could it be that the Spurs just weren’t good enough for Jimmer Fredette?


Poor Jimmer. I’m not sure what the situation was down in the Alamo city, but I do know that Jimmer is a stand-up guy…even though you should technically get down in a crouching position while playing defense.

I still think he could contribute to an NBA team. There have been plenty of one-dimensional players that have made a good living in the league. Look at Steve Novak. The only difference between Jimmer and Novak is that Jimmer has to guard quicker guys. The trick for Jimmer will be to find a coach and team willing to give him consistent minutes so that he can show that he can be an asset.

I don’t care what some assistant coach says about him, I still believe that he is one of the good guys and I hope he can find a way to stay in the league and be successful.


Q: Do you think the Jazz have a policy in place that would prevent team employees from asking players for a loan?


GREAT question! My quick answer would be yes, but my heart says no and that’s why I’ve been trying to get hired by the Jazz for the last 20 years. I’ve made some pretty dumb financial decisions in my day and have been trying to dig myself out of a hole ever since I bought a Nissan XTerra back in 2008.

There has to be some kind of policy or rule that would frown upon employees fraternizing with players. I’ve heard before that Jazz dancers aren’t allowed to date players, but I didn’t know if that was a rumor that was started because of how creepy Blue Edwards used to be around women. Having a policy would make total sense because the Jazz do NOT want their dancers to lose focus on their routines even if it’s for but a moment. If even one dancer is off-sync during one routine, a chain-reaction of injuries could occur.

If I worked for the Jazz I wouldn’t ask the players for loan. That’s WAY too tacky. What I would do is invite them over for a barbecue at my house so they could see the barbecue I built out of chicken wire and some old rollerblades. Then I would silently cry for no reason while I barbecued their Dino chicken nuggets just the way they like them.

I’d also invite them to lunch and pretend that I forgot my wallet. Then I would complain about how my car breaks down a lot and ask them for rides to work or the grocery store or Classic Skating. While we were skating around the rink together to Sting’s “Fields of Gold,” that’s when I’d tell them about how I have a sick sister who married a Nigerian Prince and they are in desperate need of funds to return to the United States.

All the tactics I listed above would take all the awkwardness out of having to come right out and ask them for money. I guess I’m just too proud to do that.


Thanks for all the questions you guys! Good news, last week’s Jimbo’s Mailbag was only fourteen views away from going viral in Canada! We’re all in this thing together and together we can make my dreams come true!

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


  1. Richard Sleight says:

    Good read, but something didn’t sound right. I asked my teenage son if he knew who Pamela Anderson was, and after a long pause he replied, “some old lady, right?”

  2. Billrig says:

    Jimbo – the “assistant coach” supposed quotes were very likely a complete fabrication, and nothing but tabloid journalism.

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