Thoughts of Utah Jazz Radio Play-By-Play Announcer David Locke
EMPTYING THE NOGGIN—A day for the ages
An incredible day—from the luncheon to the press conference to the marvelous ceremony at halftime. A day to never forget in Jazz history.
The Luncheon was highlighted by a hysterical talk from Jerry’s childhood friend David Lee, then the Mailman, John Stockton, Frank Layden and Phil Johnson all brought down the house telling stories and thanking Jerry. Finally, Gail Miller talked on behalf of the Miller Family and Larry. She wrapped it up with a hand-written letter from the President of the United States of America.
Phil Johnson may have had the best line—telling Jerry this was better than a funeral because he got to hear everyone say nice things about him but he figured Jerry would rather be dead than sit through the accolades.
Karl Malone told the story of taking his daughter to practice and her coming back with the new word “Puck,” which she had heard throughout practice from Jerry Sloan.
Malone had another story about Sloan standing at mid-court during a practice and telling Malone: “I’ll fight you.”
In the middle of Stockton’s talk he had to pause to put on his reading glasses, and from the crowd Malone yelled, “Don’t worry Stock, I got mine here too.”
Stockton told a story about Jerry telling him he needed to take a larger role and have more leadership, so in the next game John called a timeout thinking he was doing the right thing and in the huddle Jerry glaring at him saying: “I will be the only one who calls a timeout on this team.” And then continued to glare at Stock, which Stockton said was the same as “I’ll fight you.”
Frank Layden said Jerry had success because he treated all the players the same—he treated them all like dogs.
Sloan said he was the luckiest guy in basketball with what he was given with these players and what he was given by this organization.
Neat story was told about the team running “suicides” or “ladders.” John Stockton only lost once in 19 years—on a day when he sick and got beat by Calbert Cheaney. Talking to Stockton later in the day, he was quick to point out that the next day he went right next to Calbert and said “Let’s go,” and he never lost again.
For a kid who grew up a Jazz fan, to be in that room with all the Jazz greats and take in these stories was truly a wonderful experience—although a bit surreal. The press conference was more of the same. On a personal note, I had a lengthy conversation with John Stockton, probably the longest I have ever had. I tried to push him to see what he was going to do with his competitive juices. He said he is busy and that life after basketball has been very enjoyable.
The halftime ceremony was terrifically well done. I thought Jerry was going to lose it, but he held it together. Could you imagine if he had broken?
Jazz did a nice job defensively against the Warriors most of the night, but Steph Curry was more than they could handle. It was a game without power forwards, which was strange. Without David Lee, Derrick Favors, Marvin Williams or Jeremy Evans (second half), both teams were playing small forwards at at the 4.
Rudy Gobert got time when Kanter was poor to open the night. Gobert had some nice plays. He is still really far away, but the progress he is making is noticeable. Going 5-for-5 from the line was terrific.
Alec Burks continues to make progress. He is driving aggressively. He did some decent things defensively, but also had some breakdowns in transition defense.
Hayward’s eight turnovers were very poor.
Trey Burke has slowed down. He has not had an impactful game in a while. Warriors closed on a 24-12 run after Burke checked back into the game.
Super night for Diante Garrett, who had a career-high 13 points.