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Where Are They Now: Bobby Hansen

July 18, 2017
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** Currently a color commentator for the Iowa Hawkeyes. “I just enjoy life. I’m a grandfather three times over. My wife Mary and I, we’ve been married 30 years and our children are grown. Two of them are in Chicago, one in Des Moines.”

On who inspired him to get into color commentating
[When I come back], I think about Hot Rod Hundley. You know, we lost Hot Rod and he’s the reason I got into radio, was Hot Rod seemed to have fun at what he was doing and I’m like, “Hmm, maybe I’ll try this when I get done and have as fun as Hot Rod had.”

What was the transition from All-Stars Adrian Dantley and Rickey Green to Karl Malone and John Stockton like?
Amazing time led by an amazing man in Frank Layden, who had a vision as president, general manager, coach. Frank was everything. You know, and he saw, I think, the draft and tha–they didn’t get lucky. They just had an incredible scouting department that saw the talent…

They drafted John, and I think it took them about a week in training camp to realize he was not gonna be the backup, that he was probably gonna be the starter. And then they moved Rickey Green to Charlotte. And there was only room for one on the low block, so Adrian Dantley was the odd man out. Karl assumed that, and the rest is history. Those guys are hall of famers.

On Larry H. Miller and how the Jazz became rooted in the community
I think where it kinda all came together was in, I think in 1988, maybe, when we took the Lakers to seven games. That’s when it really became, like, unified. Th–it was Salt Lake against the rest of the NBA, and to be on the verge of knocking off the world champions at that time, the Laker–it was just an incredible time…

[The organization] found stability in the Miller family. Larry Miller, Toyota dealer in town, and he was real involved. I mean, Larry was in the locker room. Larry was encouraging. He was, you know, challenging you.

And then, he’s the main reason — the Miller family is the reason why the team is here and will remain here probably forever, I would think, with — I mean, the guy bought it for $20 million. I mean, what’s it worth now? Yeah, close to a billion dollars…

You move forward [from losing Gordon Hayward]. You move on, because this franchise has survived many, many things over the years, and because of that loyal fan base, it will thrive in the future.

You’ve played for Frank Layden, Jerry Sloan, Phil Jackson, Lute Olsen, and Dick Motta. Who was the best?
Frank Layden. Yeah, just because of everything that he is. He wasn’t a guy that would go up there and draw plays up, you know, and — he hated that, to be honest with you. He was more about motivating you, playing together as a team, taking care of each other, and competing. Just giving it everything you got every time you’re out there. And he really cared about you; you knew that…

If you ask me who my favorite, who the best coach that I — it’s Frank Layden, as a professional…He took the heat off his players and he put it on himself. He shouldered a lot of that burden, and as a player, it was great.

On Jerry Sloan
Jerry just got the best out of you. Jerry challenged you every single day to, you know, never take a moment off. Just to be the ultimate competitor, and that really elevated my game. …

[Michael Jordan] was a great teammate. If you knew that anything broke out on the court, he was a lot like Jerry Sloan. I always knew if you got into a fight on the court or something, Jerry was gonna probably be the first one on the court. With the Bulls, Michael was gonna be that type guy. They had that similar type of personality.

Summer League Gleanings
Paid a lot of attention to Donovan Mitchell. Sitting over there with Coach Sloan and Phil Johnson and Kevin O’Connor and the scouting staff. Just kinda, just, you know, picking their brain a little bit. I really like that kid. He reminds me of an NBA player right now.

I mean, people talking about Damon* Lillard; you know, Marcus Smart. He’s got that man’s body. He’s a willing defender. He made one play — I was sitting behind the bench behind Alex Jensen over there — and he stole the ball, and right in front of their bench, he saved it, flipped it behind his back for a layup. It was a phenomenal play, and I said, “That’s an NBA play right there.”

So, I think the Jazz are in great shape. You got great young players. Jerry was talking about Rodney Hood. He likes him to pick up the scoring slack. I thought Dante Exum was better last night than he’s been in the past. Phil Johnson talked about when he first got here, he wouldn’t take the ball to the basket. Now he’s going to the basket hard, getting to the free throw line.

So, you’re in great shape. And yeah, it’s always tough to lose a — your star, your all-star, but the cupboard is not bare here with the Utah Jazz. (1280)

* Not a typo.

Bonus reading: Here’s a Bobby Hansen story Frank Layden told a year ago.

Michael Jordan told me when Bobby Hansen went to Chicago the last year of his career, he said to me, “Coach, thanks for giving us Bobby.” He says, “He used to give me fits.”

You know? He was — yeah, I used to say, “Bobby, when you come into the huddle, I wanna see blood on your uniform. I want to see Michael Jordan’s blood.” And so one day I come in and see [that he has] blood down, running down the front of his uniform. I said, “That’s it. I love that. I love seeing blood.”

He goes, “Coach, it’s my blood.” He said, “Michael–” he says, “Michael’s beating the shit out of me.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. Richard McEntire permalink
    July 19, 2017 11:27 am

    Great to hear that Bobby is doing well. I wasn’t born when he played for us, but I’ve seen a lot of his highlights and have come to really appreciate the kind of player he was. Also cool that he keeps tabs on the Jazz and he keeps in touch with Jerry and Phil


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