In November, Jeff Zilgitt of USA Today reported that officials from the Jazz and the league office were pushing to revive the old Rocky Mountain Revue summer basketball league in Utah — perhaps as early as this coming summer. The push has continued since, and several sources at the Showcase said the league appears on track to host a four- or six-team summer league in Utah this year. An announcement could come soon.
Damian Lillard came back “home” on Saturday for what can only be described as a pretty special day, one which few folks will ever get to experience. After all, for the second time in his young life, it was officially declared “Damian Lillard Day” in Ogden (Utah), where Lillard spent four years not only learning how to be a better basketball player but, more importantly, growing up, maturing physically and emotionally and learning how to become a better man.
Shawn Bradley wasn’t about to disappear when he retired from the NBA eight years ago. When you’re 7-6, there’s no such thing as fading into the background. Most of Bradley’s focus is on wife Annette and their six children in Murray, Utah. But he’s also found time to run for the state House of Representatives, dabble in real estate, ride his custom-made bicycle in a few 100-mile rides, take an active role in several charities, chair the board of a school for at-risk teens, work on his family’s ranch near Roosevelt in central Utah and even play guitar in a YouTube video promoting Jimmer Fredette. “That was not one of my better moments,” Bradley says of the video. “When the right guy calls, you do something like that. I felt ridiculous (he was wearing a BYU letter jacket and a wig that looked as if it was borrowed from a mop). When we first got there, I said, ‘If (former BYU football coach) LaVell Edwards is not walking through those doors, I’m gone.’ But he showed up and if he was willing to do that, so was I. Luckily, my teenage daughters were not embarrassed by it. To them, it was just dad being dad.”
Like many of the people he serves, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker is a huge Utah Jazz fan. He attends a few games each year. He TIVOs and watches most Jazz telecasts, and is a daily follower of the franchise for six-plus months a year. And, yes, he wants the NBA lockout to be over. That’s why Becker and 13 other mayors, including ex-NBA standout Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, recently co-signed an open letter to NBA owners and players, hoping to persuade the two sides to resolve the labor-deal impasse and get the ball rolling on the 2011-12 season.
Call it their “Occupy NBA Arenas” movement. “I want to be able to enjoy the Jazz,” Becker said Tuesday afternoon while owners and the players’ union negotiated with a federal mediator. “I hope on a personal level they get going, because I love following them (the Jazz) and seeing these players develop and the coaching and all the dynamics that goes on — and I hope for their success. “But,” Becker continued, “it’s also really important in our community.” Sports clubs and bars benefit from every Jazz game, even the ones on the road. And the annual 41-plus Jazz home games bring a stream of people and revenue into the city’s restaurants, the arena, parking lots and other businesses. That, obviously, sparks the SLC economy. Also, the mayor added, “It brings a fair amount of vitality downtown.”