The Jazz are my team. Obviously. I write for a Utah Jazz blog, I think that should be proof enough of my dedication to our team. Would you be surprised then if I told you that too often my fandom is questioned amongst fellow fans? Well unfortunately it is. I’m writing this post to set things straight and see if I can connect with other fans out there like me.
While I am a die-hard Jazz fan and my allegiance definitely belongs to this team, I am also a lover of the game and consequently, a connoisseur of the good things happening around the league. If a team is setting records for longest winning streak in NBA history, I’m gonna take notice. If a certain point guard really knows how to drop a dime, I’m gonna take notice. If a team of oldies continues to find ways to be competitive and run for the title, I’m gonna notice. I notice this stuff and I respect the hell out of it. So much so, that I’ll likely even bring it up (with great enthusiasm!) in my conversations with fellow Jazz fans. Is that such a crime?
It’s like if you don’t answer with “The Jazz” to every NBA question, you are somehow betraying the team. Who will win the championship this year? The Jazz. Who is the most talented team in the league right now? The Jazz. Who do you want to win in the Lakers/Suns game tonight? The Jazz. It’s absurd! I come from the perspective that being a fan does not mean you are not allowed opinions and preferences around the league. And it certainly doesn’t mean you become ignorant to the realities of where your team fits in the NBA universe.
Let’s bring the current Clippers into this conversation. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I’m on that bandwagon. And not just because they are good and becoming the premier team in LA. No, it’s because Vinny Del Negro’s squad is made up of players I have massive love for – love that dates back to when they were each playing with previous teams. Chris Paul the former Hornet. Chauncey Billups the former Piston. Howard Eisley the former Jazz man. And Matt Barnes the NBA Vagabond. This team is a real NBA melting pot and I enjoy watching them play. They’ve got a good thing going, and I’ve taken notice. With that said, obviously when the Jazz play the Clips, I’m rooting Jazz All. Day. Every. Day. Does that really even need to be a question?
Speaking of questions, one of my favorite questions to ask new fans I meet is “who’s your second favorite team in the league?” I’m amazed at how many are stumped by my question and even those who regard it as fan blasphemy. I respect their ability to rein in any wandering eyes, but I also wonder the depth of their love for the game. How can you not notice the greatness called the opponent on the court? For me, I can’t not notice, and I can’t not have an opinion. Being a true blue fan doesn’t mean we have to be ignorant and blind to the rest of the league. The strongest of fans can acknowledge greatness in all its forms, while still declaring an untainted dedication for the one loved most of all. I may like the Clippers, I may like the Spurs, but at the end of the day, I love the Utah Jazz. And I don’t want to hear anyone question that.