As you've undoubtedly noticed, I've been away for some time. I had some kind of -itis, I'll let you determine which kind for yourself, but I'm back and I'm here to talk about your Utah Jazz.
After Gordon Hayward (known as "What's His Face" by the titular hosts of my favorite morning show DJ and PK) left Salt Lake City for Boston, many figured the Utah Jazz were going to be a lost cause. Yes, we had Rudy Gobert, and fan-favorites Joe Ingles, Rodney Hood, Joe Johnson and Derrick Favors were still holding their spots on the court and in our hearts, but losing our star, the one we planned around and looked forward to seeing as a perennial all-star, had split. Hayward's leaving caused heartache and panic. Would we, COULD we, get back to the playoffs again in the near future? Short answer? YES.
Drafted 13th overall, few knew the name Donovan Mitchell when he came to the Jazz. Fast-forward to February 2018, and this young man has led the team on an 11-game winning streak and, for many, is the front runner to win the Rookie of the Year award. Unless Ben Simmons has his way that is, but I digress. Some roster changes have taken place, with Hood joining The King in Cleveland and Iso Joe heading to the Bearded One. We got Jae Crowder out of this shake-up, which is fantastic (There are those who may recall me saying last year that Crowder should come here...).
Anyway. None of this is news to you because you, yes YOU, are an attentive, wise, kind, attractive person. That's right, I noticed the new glasses ... they're stunning. The hair too; you look ravishing.
But while it may not new news, it's still good news. In an era where we have an incredibly polarizing P.O.T.U.S., controversial Olympic happenings, a terrible school shooting in Florida and a country split down the political middle with very loud psychos on both sides, some good news is required for our continued sanity. This is not to say that some of these things, such as the shooting, don't need our attention, or that there aren't bigger issues to focus on, because there are. But goodness is needed to counter some of the badness, and that's just another reason why sports can be so therapeutic.
And what better sports story to share than that of a team who, by all accounts, was projected to struggle but turned it around? A team that was destined to rebuild, again. A team that, despite the best efforts of some solid players, was not going to make many waves without some big time star power. Everybody loves an underdog. The 2017-18 Utah Jazz have lit a fire under everyone, and they've done so with grit, determination, hard work and charm.
Fans of the team are reinvested. Donovan Mitchell has done more in half a year than most Jazz players did in their entire careers. Favors is stronger than ever, Ingles is teaching the world how to shoot and Gobert is becoming the ultimate devastator on both ends of the court. The league is taking note, and rightfully so.
This matters to those of us among the mountains. We're due to succeed again, like we did in the past. Not just as a sly and slippery squad that focuses on fundamentals, quietly nabbing 50-plus wins, but as a new-look Utah Jazz with healthy doses of flash and razzle dazzle. This team is looking like one that might one day, with the possible inclusion of a third star to lineup next to Gobert and Mitchell, find themselves in contention for it all. And with that said, here is the point to the article:
Love your Utah Jazz. If they win 11 in a row, great. If they lose 11 in a row, don't falter in your support. This team represents the chip on our collective shoulder as Utahns who will never get the credit or recognition we deserve. In a time of ever-worsening politicization of all things, we could use a bonding agent to bring us together as Americans, as Utahns, as sports fans and as people. Dare I suggest that the Utah Jazz be that bonding agent? Yes, I dare.
Be good. Do good. Have fun. Go Jazz.
P.S. May our thoughts and prayers go to those affected by the tragedy in Florida this week. This is not to say thoughts and prayers are enough, but they do matter. Now is the time to set aside politics and come together to make this the last such tragedy. This horned-one doesn't have the answers, but I do have the desire to seek and employ answers that make us a better, safer nation. I hope we all do.