Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Stay Classy, Salt Lake City.

My favorite line (of many) from the movie Anchorman was Ron Burgundy's sign off line "Stay Classy, San Diego". It was purposely campy, and honestly, I don't really have any idea what it meant.

I'm pretty sure he wasn't talking about Utah Jazz fans though.

After a playoff series allegedly that saw the Jazz faithful shout racial epithets at players from the Golden State Warriors, the great folks of Salt Lake City really took the cake last night... and pelted the visiting San Antonio Spurs with it as they exited following a close 91-79 victory, taking a decisive 3-1 series lead back home.

This only adds to the shameful legacy of Salt Lake City being an unattractive destination for free agents and opposing players, punctuated by Derek Harper's refusal to report when he learned he was once traded there from Dallas. SLC has long been considered unfriendly to African Americans. The Jazz' front office seems to have come to grips with this perception, and has successfully built a contender by assembling a team of guys who like Utah and that Utah likes. The Jazz's two best players at the moment, Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams, and both biracial. The majority of the rest of the team consists of foreigners (Andrei Kirilenko, Mehmet Okur) or American born white players (Matt Harpring).

Having spent a week or so in SLC a few years ago, I can say perception isn't reality, at least not outside the basketball court. I found the people of Utah excessively friendly, although I got a little tired of being stared at and sized up as an athlete. The women were pretty. The air fresh and clean. What's not to like, guys?

Then again, nobody tried to hit me with a pack of D Batteries, so what do I know?

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