Mr. Rejection: Earl “Swats-em” Watson

If you ask Earl Watson — and I did — his two blocked shots were perhaps the most overlooked stats in the Jazz’s 93-89 win over Portland.

“I call them two key blocks,” Watson said, cracking a grin.

They put him into double-digit range (10) on the season and improved his best-ever swatting percentage to 0.5 blocks per game. He swears he should’ve been credited for a third block, too.

This Swat Lake City thing is catching on, isn’t it?

“Earl (is) everywhere, man,” said Jazz center Al Jefferson, who wasn’t shocked by Watson’s two blocks. “Earl don’t surprise me with nothing he do no more.”

Jokingly, I told Watson he’s becoming the Mark Eaton of this Jazz team.

“Mark Eaton!?” he replied. “Come on, you’ve got to give me like Dikembe. Give me at least Lou Alcindor.”

(Enter finger wag here.)

Me: “I was trying to do the Utah Jazz tie-in.” Plus, I reminded him, “Mark Eaton, he’s a UCLA guy.”

(For the record, Mutombo had the most blocked shots of the three: 3,289. Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, another UCLA great, had 3,189, and the 7-foot-4 ex-Jazzman blocked 3,064 shots.)

The 6-foot-1 Watson now has 155 blocked shots in his 11-year career. Not too bad for one of the shortest guys on the court.

“I think it’s easy to block shots when you’re short,” he said, “because nobody expects you to jump. It’s a good play. I’ve had some good blocks over my career.”

Watson’s favorite?

“Shawn Bradley,” he responded without hesitation. “On the backboard.”

Watson beams when talking about the block in which he raced from behind to catch up to the 7-foot-6 BYU product and denied him access to the hoop.

“That was like the block of the year in the NBA,” Watson said. “I thought I was about to kill myself, though. I was so high. I was almost parallel falling down. I was like, ‘Oh my … this is about to hurt!’

“But,” he added, “when you’re young, you don’t feel it. Now, I’d probably be on injured reserves for at least a week. I pick my battles wisely.”

Jefferson claims he’s never been on the receiving end of one of Watson’s return-to-sender moments.

“I would never let him do that,” 6-foot-10 Big Al said. “I’d have to hear about for the rest of my life.”

Here’s another fun Earl Watson moment, when he rejected … a free throw:

Somehow Watson forgot to mention being consumed by Shaq:

Categories: General

About the Author

Jody Genessy

Jody Genessy is the Utah Jazz beat writer for the Deseret News. To answer some of your questions: 1) Yes, he travels everywhere the Jazz do. 2) No, he doesn't fly on the team charter. 3) No, he can't sneak you into the game, let you take notes for him or get you tickets (sorry, Mom). 4) Yes, he realizes that other people out there have to work for a living so he's a lucky dude. 5) Yes, he usually answers questions in the third person.

One comment

  1. Todd Mintz

    Earl it looked like when he was younger could almost rival Jeremy SKY Evans for Vertical Leap. That play I guess kind of explains CHarles SMith, oops, Shawn’s NBA career