One. Back in the summer of 2009, Ronnie Price (forever “Ronnie P” to me) was asked how much of the final 17 minutes of the Jazz’s last Playoff game was “Hey, you forgot about me and I’m proving to you what I could have brought.”
His response: “It was more ‘I hate the Lakers’…It was more about that. It had nothing to do with trying to prove a point to Coach or anything like that. I just like getting my name called and like being on the court and having a chance to compete, especially against a team I can’t stand.”
Price just signed with the Lakers, and the comment was picked up and tweeted out by a Lakers blog.
How are Lakers fans responding? Pretty much how you’d expect:
Two. I’ll let Kyrylo Fesenko break the news himself:
For the record, he was listed at 288 when he was with the Jazz.
Three. Patrick Beilein’s path to Jazz player development coach/video analyst:
Patrick landed the job with Utah after being approached from deep left field by the Jazz. The team’s front office came calling this summer to gauge his interest in being head coach of the Idaho Stampede, the franchise’s NBA Developmental League affiliate. He was one of three finalists and, after interviewing with general manager Dennis Lindsey and others, was confident he’d be hired.
Instead, not long after, the Jazz called Patrick Beilein to say he’d be more valuable on Jazz coach Quin Snyder’s staff. The offer came despite Patrick having “no connection whatsoever*” to Snyder or the franchise. He accepted with little hesitance, leaving his head coaching gig at West Virginia Wesleyan after going 35-24 in two seasons. (M Live)
* His dad, John, was Trey Burke’s college coach.
Four. I believe the new season of Downton Abbey isn’t airing stateside until next year, but for those who have already watched the Season 5 premiere, did this scene bring to anyone else’s mind one Carlos Boozer?
Five. The new Stockton and Malone (aka your beloved Jazz beat writers Aaron “Stockton” Falk and Jody “Malone” Genessy) at the Jazz’s Media Training Camp, via @DJJazzyJody:
On Derek Jeter
I love watching Jeter. He’s a class act…My wife’s a huge Yankees fan and a big Jeter fan, and she twisted my arm to take her back there and watch Jeter at Yankee Stadium one last time.
You are your father’s son, but you’re a different alliteration* of what your dad did here. How have you put your stamp on the team and what would you like your stamp to look like moving forward?
My dad was a self-made guy, classic entrepreneur. And I tell people that if–I really think in his heart, if he would’ve been able to do things the way he wanted, he would’ve fixed every car that came through his service department. He’d’ve scanned every Jazz ticket. He’d’ve torn every ticket at our theaters, and touched everything.
And our organization got to a point long before he died where that entrepreneurial, hands-on [approach] actually became counter-productive. And I was witness to that.
And I saw that we could do more if we would just let the talented people in our organization have more authority and autonomy to exercise their ideas and to develop their talents and abilities. And I always felt that if I ever had a chance to make that decision, that would be one of the first things I did.
And I’ve restructured the company since I became CEO, and the first thing I did was install presidents over our various business units who are very, very good at what they do….
It’s served the organization very well, a–but it’s also allowed them and those who work under them or support them to grow as well as they’ve employed that same philosophy. And so it’s, I think it’s fostered growth throughout the organization.
Another difference is that, as we all know, my dad was a very passionate guy and he wore his emotions on his sleeve. And I think there’s a time and a place for that. But I saw the remorse that he felt that night that he got into it with a Denver fan and had him in the headlock. And he regretted that so deeply, that it was such a public event. There was no hiding from it.
And then there were times, the time that he came over and yelled at Jerry [Sloan] for the, Karl Malone having a bad night. And that got a lot of coverage. And other nights he’d go in and throw furniture, metaphorically or maybe literally, in the locker room. But every time something like that happened, it was followed by a measure of remorse.
And I just decided that I wasn’t gonna do those things. I’ve worked hard to not do anything to embarrass the organization or the family, and I try really hard to keep my emotions in check. And a lot of times people misinterpret that as disinterest or I’m not as passionate as my dad. I beg to differ. I’m every bit as passionate. I just try harder to keep it in check so I don’t have to apologize to folks after I misstep.
There are, I can tell you stories like that. I can go on and on, but the main thing, to answer the rest of your question, is that I think it’s my responsibility to honor my dad’s body of work, what he did throughout his life. …
My hope is that when it’s not my turn, hopefully many years into the future, that whoever follows me will say, “Wow, Larry started a really great thing. Greg picked up where Larry left off, and made it even better.”
* I’m guessing Spencer Checketts was trying to use one of Dennis Lindsey’s favorite words, “iteration.” Sadly, it didn’t work out.
Jazz fans are excited about this year for a lot of reasons. Why are you excited about this season?
I should probably preface my remarks by saying that I’m very thankful for the years that Tyrone [Corbin] gave us. And I may have never met a finer gentleman in my life. He is just a genuinely good guy, and there’s a big part of me that’s sad to see him go, on the personal level. And I do think that he gave us everything he had and I have absolutely no complaints about the time he was with us.
But having said that, I am very excited for Quin Snyder to be here. And the main thing that is apparent to me with Quin is that he is one who will lay out what he expects and then he will hold the guys accountable to execute his game plan. And if he’s not liking what he sees, he’ll stop it, and he’ll tell the guys–I mean, essentially, he’ll say, “Listen, we can get through this in an hour, or we can take all day. It’s up to you and how well you execute.”
And that level of accountability is one of the reasons that I’m excited, because if our players are held accountable to do what they’ve been coached to do, then I think you’ll see us perform at a level that we haven’t for the last few years. …
I think we’re very young; we’re very fast; we’re very athletic. And I think properly coached, these young guys can develop into something very, very special. And that’s what I expect.
When did you know Quin Snyder was the next coach of the Utah Jazz?
When we were interviewing Quin, we got to the part about what’s your defensive philosophy, how are you gonna improve our defensive performance. And he said that the, everything hinges off the defense.
And it’s not just from a basketball standpoint, but it, if a team plays defense well together, it means they know how to trust each other. And when you have that level of trust, you can do just about anything. It creates wonderful opportunities for, not only for chemistry, but then you look at the offense and the opportunities that spring from the defensive side.
And it was in that vein of the conversation that I looked over at [my brother] Steve and I said, “This is our guy.”
Talk about the process of pursuing a championship. How patient do fans have to be? How patient should they be? Is there a time frame?
Well, I wouldn’t want to quantify it from a timing standpoint…
There’s a, probably several ways that you could get a championship. One would be to just do like Miami did and go out and hire a bunch of free agents and more or less, I’d say, buy a championship. I don’t wanna be unfair to them because I have a lot of respect for the Heat and the Arison family, but our style is different.
And we’re more organic. We’re not looking for the quick fix. We’re looking for long-term success, and that’s why we’ve chosen the route that we have. We’re gonna recruit young guys who are good citizens, that are not troublemakers, that follow direction, that can work well together, that represent the franchise well and the community, and then we just nurture them, and build and invest and hope that dividends come.
And that process takes longer, but I think it’s more durable, and it is more rewarding if and when the payday comes. And I’m confident that it will.
If you’re stumped, where do you go?
That’s a, that’s true. I mean, there’ve been a number of times where I’ve just thought, “Man, where do I go from here?” and knelt down and said a prayer, and the answers come.
I also have been, as I said earlier, very, very blessed to be surrounded by extremely talented people who are very good what they do, at what they do, and my style is very collaborative.
Getting back to your question earlier about some of the differences between my dad and me, one of our presidents said, says that, “Greg, the difference between you and your dad can be summed up like this: Your dad ran the business from his desk; you run the business from your conference table” — which means that I’m a lot more collaborative.
Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines (UDQM)
** Miller to Checketts: We ran into your dad and your mom there…It was neat for me to see the success your dad’s having back there.
** Monson on LHM saying Greg should be able to run the empire as he sees fit: I looked at Larry and I thought, wow, that’s, coming from him, and you know how he could be pretty set in his way, that he was willing to release it and feel good about that.
** Miller on when he knew Quin Snyder was the one: Well, it came during the interview process. (1280)
One. The Lehi Mascot Bowl took place on Sept. 22. Jerry Sloan was there.
Asked jokingly about there being rumors that he would be coaching the game, Jerry said, “I’m through coaching…I don’t wanna coach football. That ball won’t even bounce right.” Classic Jerry :)
Oh and by the way…I never knew the Jazz Bear had his own assistant:
Two. Fuel for the insecure Jazz fan with an inferiority complex:
Three. Derrick Favors, asked if he’s talked to Quin Snyder yet and what kind of guy he is (H/T @My_Lo):
“He’s cool. I talk to him every other day almost. We sat down and had a conversation about the upcoming season and how I should play.” (Hoop)
For an article published on nba.com–Hoop is the official magazine of the NBA–it’s surprising how many typos there were in the post (including Quin Snyder’s name being spelled wrong).
I mention this because of the following #UDQM, when Favors was asked about the Jazz’s young guard trio of Trey Burke, Dante Exum and Alec Burks:
“All three of them are going to be really good. Dante just played for Australia in FIBA and should be on his back.”
Four. Watch this. Big Al truly does what he does better than anyone (H/T @OhioHadley):
Five. Five days until Media Day! Have you told your boss you’re taking a vacation day yet?
I just cannot wait to see Rudy Gobert doing this in a Jazz uniform.
H/T @dianaallen for the audio of her exclusive interview with Idaho Stampede head coach Dean Cooper.
Will you have freedom in deciding what kind of offense you run, or will you be running Quin Snyder’s offense?
The plan is basically to play the way that coach Snyder’s gonna play. You know, always because of types of players, the types of talent, skillset, there’s always a, gonna have to be adjustments kind of inside of the shell.
But for the most part, yeah. Both sides of the ball, not just the offense, but both sides of the ball, we’re gonna play the way so that it makes it an easy transition for when we have assignment players with us. You know, Jazz players or whatever the situation is, or if we just have one, guys that start on my roster and then they’re called up, in that way when they get there, it’s a, they’re not trying to learn a new language, a new way to play, etc., etc.
Do you know if the Jazz plan on sending players down on a more consistent basis than they have in the past?
I think it’s just gonna depend, honestly, on, like, kind of how it’s going. You know, we, it’s, we have a fairly young team up there, but at the same time, because we’re young kind of across the board, those guys might have to play up there a little bit more than, say, maybe a couple young guys on a more [veteran team]. …
It’s one of those things, like, I don’t think any team, like, truly plans it out unless you’re, like, really veteran and you just got, like, one young cat.
Have you had conversations with Quin Snyder about the offense you’ll be running?
We’ve been getting in different situations [at the open gym] and putting in the system.
And you know, we’re gonna play with pace. We’re gonna play with, we’re gonna get the ball up and down the floor. We’re gonna try to take the right shots…
It’s gonna be a different style of play, but the team’s set up for that now too, whereas it wasn’t in the past.
On the coaching staff’s decision-making process
Coach Snyder’s been great at, you know, making me part of his staff, which is why I’ve spent so much time in Salt Lake prior to coming here.
And we share ideas, and, in that, so you know, we have a really exhaustive collaborative effort which I f–you know, from the coaching staff as, in its entirety. I think our discussions are healthy. And we come to a decision, and once a decision’s made, then we just, boom. This is the way it’s gonna be.
So you know, I think, you know, hopefully I’ve been able to contribute, you know, some things that I’ve learned along the way, and obviously that’s gonna transfer to here because we’re gonna play in the same way, but it’s been a collaborative thing.
Does it help that Quin Snyder, Brad Jones and Alex Jensen coached in the D-League, and know what you’re going through?
They’re a great resource for me, because I’ve spent 15 years in the NBA. You know, so I’ve seen it from 10,000 feet, but I haven’t been on the ground…
They’ve been an unbelievable resource, and they’re gonna continue to be–probably moreso Brad and Alex. You know, it’s not gonna be time to bug coach Snyder to get over here, but Brad and Alex will be guys I can call and, you know, get advice about different situations. …
They’re just both good guys, so it’s very open communication.
How will your NBA experience benefit you with the Stampede?
I’ve been very fortunate to coach with some very successful coaches in my career. I mean, very, very lucky. But you know, I’ve, everybody’s dream is to play in the NBA.
I’ve spent 15 years there. I have a, I know what it takes to play in that league, to have a chance to play in that league and what can help you stay in that league.
And aside from just the Xs and Os and how we’re gonna play and all that, I think, I feel I can help them understand, like, I truly know what it’s like. So, it’s gotta be a partnership.
You have to trust me when I’m trying to help you get there. I hope that, like, I have, like, half my team that I start the year with, hopefully in the playoffs with me because the other half has been called up. That’s my goal. …
I mean, if we’re doing what we need to do to develop them, we’re gonna win along the way.
Do you have to do more teaching here than in the NBA?
I don’t know if you have to teach ‘em more. I think you have to refine them more. ‘Cause the, usually what it is, it’s the refinement of their game is what allows ‘em to play at the next level…
There’re areas of opportunity, what I call ‘em, like, there’re, or you know, the things they need to work on. Instead of being a 6-inch hole, it’s a 9-inch hole. Now you just gotta shrink it.* So you just gotta refine it, you know, more so than even up there…
[NBDL players] might have, like, different, like, overall games might be more complete than the NBA, but a lot of the NBA’s about being special at something…
So you try to find something that these guys, maybe they’re, they have, they’re more utility guys, but you try to find that one thing that you can, that they can become elite at, and then, boom, and then now they’re in the NBA. (@dianaallen)
Head here for Diana’s observations from the Stampede’s open tryout.
What are the goals for this season?
Things like, from a team standpoint, connecting our defensive effort. You’ll hear that as a common theme. Communicating very effectively on the court, especially defensively. That will help us connect our effort. Playing with the pass.
And then for some of our players, like Dante [Exum], for example, you have individual goals, where really the highest goal that we have for Dante is just to build a foundation from which he can work from next year. So, that could be the speed of the game of the 24-second shot clock with men. That could be a strength component. That could be working to clean up his jump shot.
So again, we wanna have some individual team goals, or some individual goals that fit inside the team scope as well. And I think if we handle all those things well, we’ll surprise even ourselves with the results of the year.
How can Mehmet Okur help Enes Kanter?
Look, they’re both big men that can step out and shoot, and they’re both from Turkey, and so there’s a lotta common threads there. But Enes is not the sole reason why Memo will do a little consulting work for us. There’s, he’s such a popular figure around town.
There’s many things with our community relations, our corporate sponsorships, doing media with you guys, sitting face-to-face with our coaches, with Randy [Rigby] and Justin [Zanik] and the management staff and myself.
And then if there’s those interactions that will happen organically, it would, look, it may be Memo and Derrick [Favors], for that matter, but I can understand why the question is Memo and Enes. And certainly they’re gonna have those conversations, and to have those common bonds for Enes to see that someone from Turkey and internationally was successful and happy in our organization, in our community is very important.
So, I think by extension, there will be a lotta things that will happen between those two, but it’s not limited to Memo and Enes.
Is there a message you send to your players in the off-season about minimizing the risk of unavoidable injuries while playing basketball?
There’re constant messages that–from a conditioning standpoint, look. We don’t want you out playing a bunch unless you’re in tip-top shape. The surface that you play on is very important to us. The leagues have to be, if you are playing in a league, has to be NBA-approved leagues.
And it’s one of the things we started–we had an open gym in Houston. It was a little bit more loose because we had several NBA players or overseas players that just lived in Houston. In San Antonio, we had to create the gym because we, just from a population standpoint and how many NBA players lived there outside of the Spurs. And it’s very similar to, with that dynamic in Salt Lake.
So, some of the invitees, the open gym invitees, to make good, safe runs, are very important to us just for our players to make good runs, but also to evaluate them in the context of the D-League, and training camp, and our other off-season programs.
So it’s really, we treat it as a season to itself. We try to be mindful of the rules. We can only do so many things, but there’s constant guidance with our guys that we wanna make sure they’re in safe harbor when they’re going out playing and working out.
How will Quin Snyder’s experience with great coaches shape what fans will see on the court this year?
Quin really changed a bunch as a coach, really, when he moved from Missouri and moved to the, moved to professional basketball. By definition, just the rules and the way things are set up. You quickly have to adapt from being a college coach, and two games a week, and five practices, and many times, flip that ratio, right? So how you manage a team, how you pace a team, how you organize a team is completely different because of the power structure, the way the schedule is set up…
One of the most unique experiences that Quin had was really with Ettore Messina in CSKA Moscow and the Euroleague. And you’re talking about beautiful basketball and basketball being played a different way. And so, that experience really, just visiting with Quin through the interview process all the way ’til now, has really branded him. And I think we’ll, he’ll bring some unique ideas and perspectives to what we’re doing, especially with our young team.
And the, again, h–Quin going back to a San Antonio branch with Mike Budenholzer in Atlanta, they ran beautiful offense last year and the ball really moved…That’s really a real higher goal for us.
Now, as I’ve mentioned before, it will take awhile for our, what we call our “flow offense,” it will take awhile for that to take hold, and we, it, there will be some ugly moments the first quarter of the year, but, ’cause we’re teaching guys how to play a little bit differently than the typical NBA team, and so the ball’s going to move, and there’s a lot of coordination that comes along with that, and teaching the concepts, but I’m very confident once that process takes hold, the community will really relate to how we’re playing.
Dennis Lindsey: Unintentional Dirty Quote Machine
** On Quin Snyder: Quin and Staff gets to, they get to touch the players.
(H/T @5kl; capital “S” on “Staff” brought to you by @philip_bagley)
** On coaching: Coaches coach everything, but it’s what you emphasize is really what the players grab on to.
** On working for the Spurs: I got five years of it, and as good as it looks on the outside, it’s better on the inside.
** On the Spurs: When you get within those walls, there’s nothing sacred.
** On Gregg Popovich: It doesn’t matter if it’s a video guy, or an intern, or a first-year guy, or a 30-year coaching veteran. If there’s a good idea, he’ll try it even if it’s against some of his general inclinations. (1280)
…in his old Jazz shorts. Old, like mid-2000s Jazz logo old. :)
Possibly related post, ft. Kris Humphries.
Photoshop, Moni’s early years
What are your favorite memories as a player?
I have so many. And first thing comes to my mind is, we made the Western Conference Finals [in 2007], and we were just playing hard and having fun. Made All-Star team [that season], and individual, it was my top two in my career. First we [the Detroit Pistons] won the championship ’04.
And as a, you know, as a individual, as a player, made the All-Star team because of [Jerry Sloan's] system, because of the team organization. And I was able to, you know, fit in, and was able to play with the great players, and great coaching staff and the fans.
Who is the best player you ever played with?
I would say Andrei [Kirilenko], AK-47. Because he was doing, he’s doing, like, little bit of everything. I mean, he comes, help you on the defense, steal the ball, block the shots, and rebound for you, defend point guard ’til the “five,” number five inside.
In offense, such an unselfish player. Pass the ball for you, and, I would say AK, because I had so many, you know, good games with him, and it was at least helping my game when we were playing on the same time. And like I said, AK is, I think, to me, the best player I ever played with.
Who is the best player you ever played against?
Tim Duncan, I would say…The way he plays, nothing special when you look at it. You watch him first time, I was, “This guy even, can’t even jump.” I mean, but he’s a, he just play and show everybody, and fundamental way and show young kids, “Man, I wanna be like him when I grow up.” ‘Cause this is, he’s so simple, but he gets [it] done every night. …
I really love to watch him. I still watch him on TV, and he still get it done. I mean, he comes every night, he shows up and play 20-10, almost. And as he so, he was killing on the playoff times, and they won a championship. I mean, it just, I learn actually a couple moves from him. I watch, and turnaround and bang off the glass; face up, hit it the glass. And really, such a special player.
On the first time he met Jerry Sloan
So, let me tell you this. First, I signed with the Jazz, and first, we were heading to Boise for training camp. I met the, Jerry Sloan first day over there, and he looked at me: “Hey son, are you in shape?”
“Coach, I think I am. Why?”
And he’s like, “We’ll see. No, I’m just asking, you know?”
I was like, okay. ‘Cause I played national team and everything in that past summer, and I came in, I thought I was in shape.
First practice: “Coach, I’m not in shape. The way we doing it, I don’t think that’s gonna be enough for me.”
So, first time I met Jerry over there, and that was the story for us. And since then, I came every year f–in great shape. Shape, and Jerry Sloan shape. So I was in gr–Jerry Sloan shape, which, they want me to run, be able to run 48 minutes. So, that was funny story for me.
When you ruptured your Achilles’ tendon, did you know it was serious right away?
I felt something pop. ‘Cause I was driving right side, and the floor was kind of wet, and I think I step on that spot, and it’s kind of something popped. And I looked at, I looked at behind me. I was like, “Who kicked me? What happened here?”
And then I tried to get up.* I couldn’t, of course, and on the way the locker room I kind of realize something serious here. And doctors just, you know, came in and told me that I ruptured my Achilles’.
Randy Rigby: He was such a critical part to the team, and I, it was a really blow to us as we knew this wasn’t just gonna be a day or two. We’re dealing with a long-term problem here.
* And remember, some Jazz employee thought that moment made a great wallpaper.
What was your Achilles’ injury like, both emotionally and physically?
I knew the physically was gonna be hard for me, but mentally, I had no idea whatsoever. Because I had no injury, no surgeries, nothing like that before. So, I didn’t know what to do, to be honest. I was just sitting home, doing nothing. My leg was, you know, high on the couch. I was icing, resting.
All, after couple months, all I was thinking, when am I gonna come back? Am I gonna be able to come back? All question marks in my head, ’cause I had no surgery before. Not such a long injuries and put me on the side. So, to be honest, I was, I had no idea. I was just doing nothing and just sit home.
It was not me, ’cause when I was, you know, before that, I was playing everyday. I had my plans in my head. I’m gonna go sleep, I’m gonna wake up in the morning, I’m gonna eating breakfast, going to practices, do–you know, nap and games.
When I was hurt, I had no plans. So that’s the most difficult time for me to get used to it. And all I want to just go out there and play, prove people I’m not, I’m still here. So, it’s been really tough days, but you know, it was not good.
On being traded by the Jazz
I mean, think about my side too. I mean, like I said, seven years. Individual and as a team, we had, we done some good things for the city and the organization. And I was so proud, and I thought I was gonna be here forever, to be honest.* I had no idea I was gonna get trade, and I was disappointed at the begin.
Then I realize this is part of the game, part of the business, so I was able to let it go and you know, no hard feelings whatsoever. So, like I said, it was sad, to see myself leaving this organization, city. And my two kids born here. This is our second home. So it was kind of tough at the begin, then I got over with and moved on.
Always our Moneyman
How was that championship Pistons team able to come together and beat more talented teams?
First, we had nothing to lose. I mean, we had, I had good, great teammates, and great players on and off the floor. And our chemistry was there. Everybody’s, was try to helping each other on and off the floor. And fans was great. And we had no superstars you can call on that team, but everybody was a future superstars. Like Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun [Prince], Rasheed Wallace there, Ben Wallace.
You know, just a lot of, like I said, great, great teammates I play with, and great organization and great chemistry. We were hanging out just on and off the floor. We were having good time. We were winning, and it was really fun.
What was playing for [Quin Snyder's ex-father-in-law] Larry Brown like?
He was, I mean, I wasn’t starting at the time. I was coming off the bench. To be honest, I was, I get, I got mad sometimes ’cause he wasn’t playing me much as I wanted to. I thought I could’ve played more for him. And then I realized, I’m learning so many things from the goodest, one of the, you know, greatest coach, and the players. I told myself, I said to myself, “Be patient. You, my turn’s gonna come. Your turn’s gonna come.”
So, I was very patient. I learned so many things from him, and also from my teammates. So, he was always into the game. He was always, even in the practices, he was so much involved. And he’s not just sitting, saying, you know, “You guys run” and all that. He was just living in the game. He was, right after the games, we used to go out, eat, and right after the practice or games. Just, you know, I learned a lot from him.
What kind of impact did the Dream Team have on you?
[In 1992], I was watching more soccer than basketball, to be honest, ’cause I, and I wasn’t even started [playing basketball] at the time. I started when I was 14. As you know, it’s such a late age, 14 years old. Can he make it? So many question marks, people’s, in people heads.
Before that, I was play, I played two years soccer. I was going to the games, playing games. Practices everyday.
Were you any good?
I was good. I was okay, as far as you asking me. And I was, I thought I was good. But I wasn’t that tall at the time, so I had no idea about basketball. I’m not gonna lie, here, and, I wasn’t watching games.
And, but when I turned 14, in that summer, I grew like crazy. Another, I would say, probably, like, 8 inches? Then my dad told me…”This is not gonna happening. You not gonna be playing soccer from now on.” He took me to the basketball camps, and since then, and, been playing basketball.
What’s the craziest thing that ever happened to you when you were playing in Europe?
We were playing in former Yugoslavia, and it was a small arena. It’s probably, like, 5,000 people was there. We’re playing, and it, during the timeouts, the people who was sitting right behind our bench–fans, right?
He was spitting all over the floor. Spitting all over the jerseys. Throwing, like, lighters. Throwing, like, little rocks. Cell phones. You just name it. It was like, mm-mm. You better win and go home. You don’t wanna stay any longer here. So it was really scary. At the same time, that’s what they wanna do, make you scared. Then you can lose.
Whatever happened to the Ferrari?
Memo (total deadpan): Which one?
Rigby: Share the story about driving the Ferrari–
Memo: On the highway?
Rigby: Yeah, on the highway.
Memo: I [was playing golf] probably like five, six years ago. I was in highway, I was going home, I was a little late. As you know, you don’t wanna make your wife, you know, angry. So, I was like, “Where are you? I’m on my way. I’ll be there in five.” ‘Cause I was away, like, 30 minutes. And so, I had to go fast, catch up that time, right?
And I was driving, driving. I was, I looked at it, and on screen, 100, 110, 120, 25. Soon as I saw the “25” on the screen, at the same time I looked back, and I w–and there was a light. And I had to pull over and the po–the officer came to me and says, “Hey guy, what are you doing?”
I said, “Sir, I’m try to go home. I’m late.”
And [he said], “Call your wife. You gonna be a little late. A little more late.”
And so, they, you know, he gave me a ticket. It was a expensive ticket, by the way. So, since then, never done anything like it…It was a great experience. I learned from it, and I’m not gonna do it again. About Ferrari, I have the new one.
Gordon Monson: The old one was yellow, right?
Memo: Then I had a black, and I have red now. (1280)
What is Mehmet Okur’s new role with the Utah Jazz?
Randy Rigby: We cherish our relationship with Memo Okur, and his family…We felt he’s a great ambassador and a great basketball mind.
And so, we’ve asked Memo to kinda help continue to be involved up in a consulting role, and in, and a regular, you know, visit to mode, to come up, and come up, bring his family up from time to time, and watch some Jazz basketball, to be involved in, you know, visiting with the team, and giving us advice on the court as well as being an ambassador here.
We have a lotta needs with great sponsors, and community events that we also could use his involvement. And so, we’re gonna have Memo more involved with the Utah Jazz, which is really a blessing to us and we really appreciate Memo’s willingness to do it.
Is this an official hire?
Yes, we’ve hired Mymo** to, yes, to be involved with the Utah Jazz both on and off the basketball court. Now, have we given him an official title? He doesn’t need a title.
* Spencer Checketts thinks Craig Bolerjack’s Mehmet Okur call was “Moneyball.”
** Not a typo.
On Memo taking a role with the Jazz
Mehmet Okur: It’s been two years, I was just enjoying my family time. As you know, we live in San Diego. It’s been really fun for me, but I just want to start, and especially here, it’s my second home.
I just want to, you know, start, wanna be able to help [the Jazz], ’cause it’s been seven years I played for them. I have enjoyed every second I was here, so I’m looking forward to it, actually, so it should be fun…
I believe I did my best last seven years, and it was bless for me, and I think I can help the young players on and off the floor. And just like Randy said, I’m gonna be doing with the sponsors, for the community, for this Salt Lake City, all the fans. Whatever they need me, I’ll be there for them.
Rigby: You know, being one that analyzed, and had the opportunity to say, “Is this the right move for Memo and for ourselves?”
Let me also just say that as we looked at it and analyzed this, that if there was a player that we feeled replicates Jazz basketball style, both on and off the court, who his, understands the challenges and the issues that a player goes through, and can be a good sounding board, and an advice, not overbearing, very open and can be a person that they can confidentially talk with, and talk about the issues that an NBA player has to deal with on and off the court, Memo Okur comes to your mind.
As you look at, then, an individual who also understands the game of basketball, and what it means to also interact with the fan base, and to make the fans feel a part and appreciated for their commitment into this, by spending dollars, and appre–and telling ‘em thank you, and telling sponsors thank you, and interacting with them, and having some fun with it. Memo is a classic example.
And so it wo–he was a perfect person for us to say, “You know what? We want those people around, and coming regularly into our community, and being a part of helping promote Jazz basketball, and saying thank you for the Jazz.”
What do you see in this young team and what do you see these players accomplishing?
Memo: I think they gonna be running team, because we have so much fresh legs and young kids on the, in the team, and well, here’s their chance. And they, you know, they need to just work hard and be humble. All they need, to me, just go out there, play hard, show everybody this our team, and this our city…
I was at the practice today, and everybody, you know, seems good, in good shape, and play hard, and work hard. So, should be a lot of fun. And at the same time, and if I look at, if you look at the last year, it wasn’t that, really, good year last year. I think it’s time for them to just show up and show everybody, and, you know, they can play.
Can you teach Enes Kanter to shoot that stretch jumper?
Memo: You know, actually I was able to talk to him today, and, right after practice. And I told him that, first thing I notice from you, when you shoot, you never use your legs.
As a shooter, look at, I mean, you just name it. And you have to use your legs, ’cause if you don’t do it during the practice, you’re not gonna be able to do it during the games, ’cause you gonna be getting tired and tired. And 48-minutes games. And I just told him that, use your legs and see what happens. See the different.
Were you always a good shooter, or was it something you achieved through work? Can shooting be taught?
Memo: I was not really good shooter when I was young. “Young” means by, around, I was probably 16, 17. I bet it’s still young in, but I was playing professionally in overseas, Euro games, and Turkish leagues. And then I start to shooting, and people like it.
My coaching staff liked it, and I was like, “Mm, this is gonna work for me. I better pay attention and work harder and try to get better at it.” And I did. Since then, I been just practicing before and after practice and before and a–you know, after the games. Became my best weapon in my game.
What about Jazz players? Can they learn to shoot like you did?
Memo: Why not? Never late. As long as they be on the court–let’s say, when I was, if I was feeling during, after the games my shot was short or long, next day, there, be there like a hour before, probably shoot like 500 times. Different spots, try to fix that.
I mean, if they pay attention and go, or leave, I mean, go early, stay on the floor, work at it, work at it, work at it, and see what happens from there. It worked out for me. Why not for the young guys?
Do you prefer FIBA rules or NBA rules?
Memo: To me, international mu–rules are a little difficult if you don’t know it. ‘Cause I played many years, and you don’t have three–defensive three seconds in there, and you can just stay there forever and ever. So that means you can get double-teamed or triple-teamed and you not gonna be able to put the floor–put the ball on the floor like you doing here.
And I think it’s a little bit tougher than here, to be honest. And here, some games you, even you touch his hair, [officials] give you a foul. And over there, they grabbed you, they hold you, they push you, no calls; just keep playing.* …
[International players are] tough. I mean, the way they play, even the Euroleague, which the most players play for them and then for the league, and, no mercy. I mean, no fouls, just keep play hard, and play and play. So, you better show up every night over there. …
And you go to games in overseas, let’s say I’m a fan of Real Madrid and you Barcelona fan. I don’t, that something you don’t see sitting next to each other at the games. I mean, here, everybody, you know, having fun, giving everybody, each other high fives.
Over there, whoa. You Barcelona fan? Head-butt. You’re out. You s–you’re not supposed to sit here. So it even gets fired up to the games or before the games, everybody takes so serious over there.
Have you ever shown Karl Malone your championship ring?
Memo: I better not.
On Yeliz Okur
Rigby: He married way above him, with Yeliz.
Memo: You better watch out. (1280)