What a way to play up to the home crowd. (The Jazz just have to hope the Saints owner doesn’t put a bounty up for naming rights.)
Jazz fans on Twitter were mostly annoyed by Tom Benson’s suggestion that his hope might possibly come to fruition. (Click here for a Jazz Extra “It is, and will be, the Utah Jazz, not New Orleans” with reaction from fans and Coach Corbin.)
People in these parts — or those who’ve appreciated the team’s hoops history since coming to Salt Lake City — have grown quite fond of the unlikely pairing of Utah and Jazz. Is it an oxymoron? Sure. But it’s our oxymoron, so back off.
A rowdy fan section in New Orleans always chants “There ain’t no Jazz in Utah!” every time the SLC squad visits, and it’s humorous. But they’re wrong. Sure, the Beehive State might not be a hot spot for the musical jazz, but there certainly has been plenty of Jazz in Utah since the Big Easy let its NBA team skedaddle out of town.
Mulling over possible nicknames for Utah’s NBA team can be humorous — and a lot of people like to start the joke with the name Saints. Seeing as the Jazz have been as entrenched in the Beehive State culture over the past 33 years as jazz has been in New Orleans, I think it’s a non-issue.
They’re not the Utah Pioneers. Not the Salt Lake Seagulls. Not the Great Salt Lakers. Not even the Stormin’ Mormons as some have humorously suggested.
They’re the Utah Jazz.
And I don’t think there’s a thing Tom Benson or David Stern or Harry Connick Jr. could offer them to change that.
Having written that, here is a rather poignant plea from an NBA fan in New Orleans, whose sincere and touching email is worth sharing:
I was just 13 when the Jazz left New Orleans. My heart was broken. I still remember the regular starting line-up of the New Orleans Jazz. My father would take me to about 15 to 20 games a year. I, as a Hornets fan, would love having the Jazz name back for my hometown. Jazz and New Orleans goes together.
Jazz was started in New Orleans as a musical phenomenon. Jazz is New Orleans. The music was life for the poor Creole, Black musicians of the day. This type of Black music was first created within the Black Creole community of New Orleans. The founder of this type of music was Charles “Buddy” Bolden ( September 6, 1877- November 4, 1931), son of former slaves. He pioneered the beginnings of Jazz music. He and other original Jazz musicians from New Orleans were inspired by the music from the Black churches of New Orleans.
Jazz maybe just a nickname to y’all folks in Utah. But for New Orleans, Jazz is New Orleans. It is the very essence of our city. It is the city’s history. I think of the poor Black pioneers who started it all over 100 years ago. Many died poor and broke. Considered second class citizens. Much of what they created stolen from them. Their music and lyrics copywrited in someone else’s name.
Most of the pioneers of Jazz were barely if at all compensated for their work. The originators of Jazz music are not forgotten and are celebrated each day in our city. When the NBA first came to New Orleans in 1974, the new team had to be called JAZZ.
I think y’all should read this book by Donald Marquis, “In Search of Buddy Bolden. First Man Of Jazz.” This book gives you a perspective of music in New Orleans and the legacy of Jazz.
I know the Lakers situation and Minneanapolis and other teams. It is what it is. Maybe they should change their name. Our city is unique. If y’all studied Jazz, the venacular, the dress, you may decide it would be approapriate to release the name back to the city of New Orleans.
It’s not a name just for Tom Benson. It’s not a team nickname for us. It’s a Name. Jazz represents everyone in New Orleans, either directly or indirectly.
The Utah Jazz has a good winning history in Salt Lake City. But it’s only in the game of basketball. I for one would not mind you guys changing the NBA teams nickname to the Utah or Salt Lake City Saints. Or any other name that is relevant to Salt Lake City, Utah. If you guys can have a chance to correct this, please give us the Name back.