Editorial: My journey to becoming the Utah Jazz fan I am today

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 21: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz celebrates with Ricky Rubio #3 of the Utah Jazz after the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Three of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs on April 21, 2018 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 21: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz celebrates with Ricky Rubio #3 of the Utah Jazz after the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Three of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs on April 21, 2018 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images) /

For my 1000th article for The J-Notes, I wanted to detail my journey to becoming the avid Utah Jazz fan I am today and thank all my readers who’ve stuck with me along the way.

Some of you reading this piece have followed The J-Notes (formerly Purple and Blues) for quite some time, pre-dating even my somewhat lengthy involvement. Among you, perhaps a few of you have come to enjoy my writing in particular and have made it a point to follow my articles specifically. If that applies to you, I thank you and appreciate you.

Others maybe haven’t paid much attention to the authors, but instead have enjoyed and kept close tabs on the writing from all of us here at The J-Notes. I appreciate you guys just as much. We have a great team here and we do our best to put out the best content we can manage.

And maybe some of you stumbled upon this piece by accident or are just getting started with our site. Guess what? I STILL appreciate it, and hope that we can get you to become a regular.

This article has some special significance for me because it just so happens to be the 1000th one that I’ve written for The J-Notes. I got my start writing on the FanSided Network in November 2016 as a contributor. Later, I’d become a site co-expert/editor and my post rate would go on to skyrocket from there as writing about the Jazz has essentially turned into a way of life for me. I’ve enjoyed every step of the way and look forward to continuing to build on this exciting milestone.

Since piece number 1000 holds some extra importance to me, for those who have followed me for a while and for those aforementioned newbies alike, I wanted to detail my journey to becoming the avid Utah Jazz fan that I am today.

I was born in Logan, Utah, and while my family originally was mainly from Wyoming, by that point with my grandparents and much of my extended family living in the Salt Lake area, the Jazz were pretty much always my family’s team. Even as a kid, I was obsessed with basketball, so my personal love for the Jazz seemed to blossom tenfold.

Considering that I was born in 1991, I was pretty young during the Jazz Finals years, but there are still plenty of things that I remember vividly. Of course, I idolized the likes of John Stockton, Karl Malone, Jeff Hornacek, Bryon Russell and the rest of the gang. Whenever I’d play, I’d always imagine myself as one of the guards (I was always too short/small to imitate Malone) such as Stockton, Hornacek, Russell, or one of my personal favorites as a kid, Howard Eisley.

By the time the Jazz made the NBA Finals, I was no longer living in Utah, but instead had moved to Vancouver, Washington. I don’t have a ton of memories from living there, but some of the most vivid have to do with the Jazz.

For one, I recall going to a game in the old Rose Garden against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Jazz lost and I still remember how disappointed I felt to this day. But that disappointment can’t even compare to how I felt when I watched the Jazz lose in the Finals. Specifically, when the Jazz lost in Game 6 in 1998, I broke down and absolutely bawled, stating between tears, “I cheered so hard that it hurt, and they still lost!”

With my child’s reasoning, I couldn’t understand how my yelling at the TV wasn’t enough to spur them to victory. I’m sure many of you reading this can relate to those same feelings, regardless of how old you were when the Jazz ultimately fell short in consecutive years to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.



That was far from the last time that the Jazz losing would bring me to tears. The very next year when the Jazz lost in the playoffs to the Portland Trail Blazers, I was just as much of a mess. Fortunately, I had my older brother to cheer me up. Usually, when we played NBA Shootout ’98 for the original PlayStation, he was always the Jazz. And he always kicked my butt (back then anyway).

But seeing how sad I was after the Jazz loss, my brother decided to turn the tables, allowing me to play as the Jazz while he took on the role of the Blazers. And to my sheer joy and comedic entertainment, he played as poor a game as you could. Purposely running out of bounds, heaving hopeless half court shots and doing everything possible to make Portland look plain silly. My Jazz team ended up winning one-hundred-something to zero.

Sure, he let me win, but we shared such a good laugh out of his team’s stupidity in how we felt the series “should have gone” that it instantly cheered me up and became one of my most distinct, although admittedly random, Jazz memories.

Shortly after the fateful Finals losses, I moved to Fort Collins, Colorado, where I’d spend the rest of my growing-up years. Upon moving to Colorado and ultimately calling it home, I quickly became a fan of the local teams there – the Denver Broncos and the Colorado Rockies.

But not the Denver Nuggets. No way. The Utah Jazz were my team through and through, and that wasn’t about to change.

I was already a University of Wyoming fan living in Colorado State territory, so adding my Utah Jazz fandom in Denver Nugget territory made me quite the contrarian. Sure, when the Jazz lost to the Nuggets, there were a lot of people around to give me grief. But when they won, man, was it ever gratifying. And while there was definitely a low-point after the Stockton-Malone years, there were definitely several good victories while I lived there.

Still, sometimes it was a bummer being the only Jazz fan among my group of friends. So when I went out to college at Utah State University, one of the things I was most looking forward to was watching Utah Jazz games with like-minded fans out there.

Unfortunately, I was foiled in my wish. Not only did I decide to room with one of my closest friends from high school, whose NBA team was the Nuggets, but we ended up both becoming good friends with yet another Coloradoan, also a Nuggets fan.

I’d moved back to Utah for the first time since I was four-years old, and found myself surrounded by Nuggets fans yet again. Yet, while the grief for losses was still there, at least so was the sweet taste of victory. And, wouldn’t you know it, who did the Jazz face in the first-round of the playoffs that year? The Denver Nuggets.

The 2010 NBA Playoffs will always be one of the most memorable ones for me for that very reason. If you recall, it was the year that Mehmet Okur tore his Achilles in Game 1 of the series. The injury would put Okur out for the remainder of the postseason, and put the Jazz in an 0-1 hole. Their outlook at that point appeared bleak at best. Kyrylo Fesenko became the replacement starting center for crying out loud.

But, against the odds, the Jazz battled back from there and ultimately would win the series. In Utah, but surrounded by Nuggets fans once again, my Jazz prevailed. And even more special to me was the fact that the victory came thanks largely to the heroics of Deron Williams, who to this day is one of my all-time favorite Jazzmen.


As a kid, I idolized the guards of the legendary Jazz Finals teams. As a teenager, that idolization later would transfer to Deron Williams. I was absolutely crazy about D-Will, and few things could get my blood boiling more than people aiming to tell me Chris Paul was the better player (hindsight is 20/20, right?). Like I’m sure many Jazz fans did, every time I played ball, I pictured myself as the Jazz star.

Even now, Williams is one of my all-time favorites to ever wear a Jazz jersey, trailing only the likes of John Stockton and the others of his era. I know he’s become a polarizing figure among Jazz fans, but you simply don’t love a player like Williams the way I did only to let it go.

Prior to that aforementioned playoff series against the Nuggets, I had the fortune of going to a Jazz game in Salt Lake City. Since I’d been living in Washington and Colorado for so long, it had been ages since I’d been able to attend a game in person there. I went early to the game and managed to snag Deron Williams to autograph a basketball card I had of him. I still consider it one of my greatest possessions.

Shortly after that awesome playoff series against the Nuggets, I went on to serve a two-year mission for the LDS Church. Some may find it ridiculous, but not being able to watch the Jazz for two whole years was one of the most difficult parts for me.

However, fortunately every Monday I could look forward to weekly emails from my dad with the subject line “RMSR” – Rocky Mountain Sports Report – to fill me in on all my Jazz, and other team, updates. On many occasions, those notes were one of the few things that got me by.

Unfortunately, those weren’t exactly bright years for the Jazz. The Williams-Sloan fallout took place and the team fell apart. They made the playoffs by the skin of their teeth in the lockout year, but when I finally got back home, the Jazz team I remembered was no more.

Those ensuing years were tough for me, as they were for all Jazz fans. But sticking by the team that went from the lowest of lows, particularly guys like Derrick Favors that have now been through it all, and seeing where they are today has absolutely been worth it.


As you probably could have guessed, I remain as obsessed with the Jazz to this day as I have been every step of the way throughout my life. Perhaps more so than ever as keeping up with the team and sharing my thoughts on them has become my absolute passion. One thousand articles (and counting) worth of passion, in fact.

My wife tends to joke with me that basketball and particularly the Utah Jazz are my second wife. I don’t typically argue. Keeping up with everything Utah Jazz is my favorite past time and my favorite thing to do in my free time.

In my most recent former job, nearly every joke directed my way from my co-workers had something to do with me daydreaming about the Utah Jazz, or simply wanting to get home to watch the Jazz. They were probably more accurate than they knew or than I let on.

Like so many of you out there, I anxiously await the day that the Jazz will finally bring home an NBA Championship. If anyone can do it, I’m sure Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert can. They haven’t gotten me so excited about a team since the glory days of D-Will. This current Jazz team is so likable and fun to watch. The organization is so well put together. It’s beyond easy to cheer for them.

But even when it wasn’t easy, be it due to the tear-jerking playoff losses, living among relentless opposing fans or any other struggles, it has always been worth it.

I love the Utah Jazz. And I’ll continue to cheer for them until the day that I die. And if I’m lucky, that championship I’ve dreamed of since I was a disappointed little boy in Washington, will come well before then.

Next: Utah Jazz announce signing of former UMBC star Jairus Lyles

Thanks so much again to everyone who has read my articles and stuck with me through these 1000 posts. Here’s to 1000 more and hopefully several more readers to come!