Now, after three years that featured two lottery seasons and one first-round sweep, one fan has had enough, at least according to the e-mail I received shortly after the end of the season.
“I know the drill,” part of it said. “Typically the season ends, a nice spinning story is written about the exit interviews. Then it’s over until the draft, and after the draft an interview with the top draft pick, and then not much until pre-season. This year could and should be different. You guys could step up and raise the big issues that are the elephants in the room. I hope you will.”
Irate fans aren’t anything new, but this wasn’t your typical, venting fan. He stated he’s been a season ticket holder since the Jazz moved to Utah in 1979 — and that he gave up those season tickets after this season came to a close.
“We just can’t keep sending big checks to these guys,” he continued. “This team has a substantial history of poor player selection and management. The Owner needs to clean house…assuming they have the determination and guts to do so. Otherwise, this season will become the norm.”
Many fans will nod their heads at this. I did the same thing. I get it. I lived in Phoenix until 2010, just long enough to see a similar drop in trust between an NBA fan base and a new generation of team ownership. Suns fans were — and are — irate that an All-Star core of Steve Nash, Joe Johnson, Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion — all at or approaching their primes — was voluntarily disbanded, one at a time, over a span of seven years in exchange for Boris Diaw, Hakim Warrick, Goran Dragic and Jared Dudley.
The Jazz are in a similar spiral. Stockton and Malone became Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer, which is now Mo Williams and a stable of power forwards that are either known-and-unwanted or young-and-unproven.
Following the death of long-time owner Jerry Buss and the Lakers’ embarrassing first-round sweep to San Antonio, fans in L.A. are just starting to experience similar doubts.
It’s hard to remember that in the same city, Donald Sterling was just as reviled for his mangling of the Clippers for over two-and-a-half decades. It wasn’t until drafting Blake Griffin and swinging for Chris Paul that the Clippers became relevant.
With Lob City in full swing, it’s hard to find a cross word about Sterling today — a modern sports miracle produced from two good moves after a slew of terrible ones. Jazz fans are hoping for a similar turnaround.
At least one 34-year season ticket holder, however, isn’t convinced the current management can pull it off.