The greatest player in NBA history still gets a lot of press; you can’t talk about Lebron’s potential legacy or any part of Kobe’s game without referencing MJ. And if there’s only one play they can show, it’s always the same one.
As a Jazz fan, I don’t see Jordan at all. I see Bryon Russell stumbling to recover. I see John Stockton throw his hands up in disbelief. I see the faces of hundreds of fans in the background realizing what just happened.
I wonder if other fan bases really understand. If they can ever fully sympathize with that feeling. To pull a dagger out of your back, then relive it over and over. Again and again. The Jazz didn’t just lose two NBA championships to him. They gave him a perfect posterization of defeat.
The pain of being a Jazz fan. Sure, every fan base has their pit falls. But there’s something about being a Jazz fan that is so much more difficult.
Utah is a small market team. It’s always going to be a small market team. The recently released NBA TV schedule, with the Jazz’s three nationally televised games, is evidence of how hard national coverage is to come by.
Except for that shot.
Would the average NBA fan even remember Bryon Russell’s name if it weren’t for that play?
Until Real Salt lake came along, the state of Utah was a one trick pony when it came to professional sports. It was Utah Jazz or bust. And for years, that was fine. Everyone drank the kool-aid. Because they were winning.
Stockton and Malone were piling up the achievements and selling a few Hondas along the way. But then came the dark ages of Salt Lake City.
The Jazz lost a lot of good fans during that time. Maybe not the die-hards, but the casual ones. My siblings and parents were among the unfaithful. Does any other fan base know what that feels like? For you own blood to encourage you to give fandom up.
The Jazz love to tease their fans. It seems like each new year offers some glimmer of hope. They get everyone’s hopes up and then smash them to pieces. It’s nice to stay competitive throughout the years, but in the end, the Jazz have the same amount to show for it as the rest of the bottom feeders.
So why do I keep putting myself through it? Why do I continually hit refresh as I wait for the season schedule to be released? Why do I check the standings when I know nothing has changed since the night before? Why do I that multiple times a day?
Because that’s what it means to be a fan. Not just any fan—a JAZZ fan.
If I had the chance to go back and do it all again, would I? Would I ride out two long hall-of-fame careers only to fall short at the finish line? Would I go through a difficult rebuilding process with a brief stint of success with a PG that didn’t want to be here only to fall right back into rebuild 2.0?
That’s what makes Jazz fans different than other fans. I’ll just learn to get used to Jordan highlights along the way.