And you are probably with me on this.
I couldn’t care less whether or not the Utah Jazz play a single game in the 2011-2012 season.
That would have been local heresy 10 years ago. The state of Utah used to be in a permanent state of basketball hysteria. Youth leagues…high school teams…church teams…one-on-one recreation tournaments…college teams with March Madness…and the once beloved Utah Jazz.
When the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan used a referee’s non-whistle to snag a championship from the Utah Jazz, the state’s residents were in mourning. The John Birch Society conspiracy addicts were replaced by Utahns pointing to an NBA conspiracy to deprive Karl Malone a ring. To us, the Jazz were the center of the basketball universe, and we were concerned about centers available in the NBA draft. Larry Miller and Jerry Sloan were the face of Utah sports. John Stockton was the only Catholic who could have won statewide office.
That was then. This is now.
The lock-out and behavior of NBA players has soured me. LeBron James is the poster boy for the NBA, chasing the bright lights while turning his back on his working class hometown. Where I once saw extraordinary athletes, I began seeing tattooed punks. The classy guys like Jeff Hornacek and David Robinson were replaced by a slew of grandstanding egos.
Millionaires don’t attract much sympathy; neither does an NBA schedule in which high-priced tickets gain entry into too many seemingly meaningless games. It was easy to find kinship with a lunch-bucket owner like Larry Miller – but not so much for boastful Internet dandies like Dallas owner Mark Cuban.
So I look to other things to fill my time. Baseball, college football, and March Madness can quench any remaining sports thirst. And there are eight books stacked up which I’m eager to tear into. And there are a number of well-produced, well-written television programs (Castle, The Good Wife, Grey’s Anatomy, Mad Men) to go along with a new season of Top Chef.
I feel sorry for the local merchants who profited from the crowds at the Energy Solutions Arena, and I feel sorry for the Miller family. It wasn’t their fault that their league was kidnapped by a bunch of arrogant jerks.
Maybe the entire season won’t be lost. Maybe a missing paycheck will knock some sense into the millionaire players. But even if a partial season is resumed, I’m done.