I had a realization earlier this week: I miss the old NBA on NBC intro.
If that doesn’t give you crazy 90’s flashbacks, I don’t know what will.
That realization, however, led to another. As I reflected on the glory days of Jazz basketball, I began to feel a large void. One that has compounded over years of frustration and anguish. 15 years to be precise.
June 14. This date has special significance in Utah Jazz lore. Any ideas why?
It’s been 15 years to the date since the Jazz last played basketball in June. 15 years to the date since the Jazz have had practically any relevancy in the NBA. 15 years to the date since Jordan cemented his legacy by pushing off Bryon Russell.
June 14, 1998 — Game 6 of the 1998 NBA finals.
That’s what made this realization so painful. If your Friday was anything like mine, it’s now ruined. Sure the playoffs are great, but it’s always more fun with the Jazz involved. Same goes for the NBA finals. This is sure to be a memorable finals, but nothing even compares to the playoff runs in 97-98.
That was the year for the Jazz. The Bulls had their number the year before, but this was their shot at redemption. The chance for John and Karl to finally get that elusive ring.
Surely, with MJ “retiring” at the end of that season, the crown would be vacated. Seemingly Utah’s for the taking. Right?
Then came the lockout shortened season of 1998-99, and the Jazz nestled into the twilight years of our superstars. Never quite able to get back over the hump and into June.
That’s right, the Jazz have never played a single game in June since that cold, dark summer day. Not with Stockton and Malone. Not even during the surprising run to the Western Conference Finals with Deron/Boozer in 2007. Game 5 (Utah was eliminated 4-1 by San Antonio in that series) took place on May 30.
June hasn’t been basketball season in Utah for a decade and a half. It is now just the month in between Jazz-playoff-elimination month and pioneer-day month.
One day, let us hope that the Jazz will again return to prominence. This time, MJ won’t be there to stop us. (Hopefully not Lebron, either)
And when they get there, maybe, just maybe, NBA broadcast rights will have shifted as well, and the NBC Ode to Joy will be there to greet us.
How’s that for playoff nostalgia?