Utah Jazz 2010 Media Day Megapost: New Guys Part 1
Returning New Guys
Raja Bell was mauled. Cut off midsentence, grabbed with two long arms and almost tackled by a much-discussed man with shaggy blonde hair.
Bell quickly turned around to discover the culprit. In turn, Bell found a friend.
Andrei Kirilenko was saying hello. And Bell was once again a member of the Utah Jazz.
The duo embraced, laughed and smiled. They requested a moment alone and were granted it. Within seconds, the former and current teammates were catching up and reconnecting after five long years. (sltrib) :) :) :)
Raja: “[Jerry's straight shooting was] one of the biggest factors, if not the biggest factor, of wanting to come back. … As a professional and as a man, I appreciate that. I don’t really buy into all the politics of the NBA, and so to come to [a team] that doesn’t play many games and has very little political games being played, it’s refreshing and I enjoy it.”
–Top objective for the team: Learn each other, and get on the same page as the coaches.
–”There are a lot of great organizations (in the NBA) but the Jazz are at the top of that list. Coach from the top down, it’s a no-games organization, there are not a lot of smokescreens, a lot of games played. It takes a certain player to respect that, and know you might not hear exactly what you want to hear, but you’re going to hear the honest truth and you can deal with it and move on from there. I respect that, and there are few organizations that do that.”
–I’m here to win…If Jerry asks me to come off the bench, if he asks me to be the eighth man, I’ll do it and I’ll do it to the best of my ability. I’ll push these guys in practice everyday. I’ll always compete as if I’m trying to start.”
(BTW, I had a total FAIL moment just now. I was watching a video of Watson talking to the media and wondering to myself whether, you know, there was anything wrong with him because he speaks SO slowly. Eventually I realized I’d accidentally hit the “Slower” playback speed button. /facepalm)
–Earl didn’t work out for the Jazz; Jazz brass flew out to see him. He was looking to join a veteran/winning team, and would have gone back to Indiana if he couldn’t sign with a Playoff team.
–Had his first daughter last year.
–”Deron and I, we have a great relationship. At the same time, we complement each other. I can learn a lot from him offensively, and defensively I can teach him a lot…Every position on this team is deep, so you just look forward to playing deep into the Playoffs.”
–”You never hear a basketball player say this, this may be the first time ever: I’m really excited to be on a court defensively with Raja Bell. I’m really excited about that. I’m really excited to play defensively on the same team as he and make it a nightmare for opposing teams and opposing guards.”
[I tell you this with 100% honesty: I went a bit lightheaded when I heard this. Lightheaded and heart palpitation-y. AKA I'm excited too.]
–Started the most games in UCLA history; sponsors inner city youths in Kansas City and provides them with the resources to get them to college. This is the first year his sponsored kids are in college and he’s really excited about that.
–[Locke: I grew up in Palo Alto and hated Cal, and [you] went to Cal. I won’t hold it against you.] “I’m not even going to comment.”
–”Obviously my basketball career has not ended yet, and you always have room to improve and learn. Why not learn from one of the greatest coaches in the game?”
–Elson grew up doing track and field, karate, playing soccer, and swimming in the Netherlands. His brother was the basketball player in the family. One day when he was 12 a guy came to pick his brother up for a basketball tournament and recruited him to play on the spot. He started playing and concentrating on basketball at 14 or 15. His dad, who was from Suriname, was a soccer player.
–Elson got a little emotional talking about his brother, who suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 21 while playing basketball. He struggled with playing basketball afterwards because it reminded him of his brother to be on the court, but when he didn’t play he missed the game too much.
–He was pissed off by the heat when he first arrived in Texas.
–Like Watson, he works with inner city kids to help them stay in school, especially since the financial crisis hit.
–”MEHMET OKUR, Mehmet Okur, Mehmet Okur man, that’s my guy. … It’s a good situation because it’s a very young team right now and they have a great history and playing for Coach Sloan is going to be good, it’s going to help me out a lot.”
–Locke: “[Brent Barry's] wife is better looking than Tony Parker’s.” Elson: “I have no comment on that. I don’t look at people’s wives.” (laughs)