Tom Smart, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — You might not recognize Dan Roberts if he passed you on the street.
But put that street inside of EnergySolutions Arena, fill the place up with 19,911 loud fans and two NBA teams, look both ways and pass him while he's enthusiastically bellowing out "How 'bout this Jazz!?" and there's a good chance you'd recognize his rich baritone voice.
"Memo! Three! Money!"
"Jazz fans, bring the noise!"
Yep, that's Roberts. Distinct and dynamic. Energetic and engaging. The one and only.
Hot Rod Hundley, Craig Bolerjack and David Locke have been the media mouthpieces of the Utah Jazz over the years. But it's Roberts' powerful pipes that fans have heard as the team's voice inside the arena ever since he introduced the relocated franchise's first starting lineup when the NBA jazzed up the Utah sports scene 31 years ago.
"I go back to the opening tipoff," Roberts said. "It was a slow start obviously, but we just kept going and going and going, and I've become acceptable background ambience now."
Since introducing the likes of Adrian Dantley, Allan Bristow and Ron Boone to new Jazz fans for the first time on Oct. 15, 1979, Roberts has become a fixture of the franchise. He's been courtside — calling out announcements, team intros, names of scorers and penalized players, promo blurbs, not to mention exuberantly egging on the crowd at times — for just about 1,500 Jazz home games at the old Salt Palace and the ESA.
Roberts is proud to pronounce this unique fact: "Anybody that's ever played in Salt Lake has come across my tongue."
From Pete Maravich to Pete Chilcutt.
Over three-plus decades, Roberts has missed fewer than 10 games during his reign as the Jazz's public address announcer.
And who can blame him?
The job comes with a pretty great perk.
"I get paid," he said, "to sit at midcourt."
There are other menial tasks that accompany the paycheck.
Like eating catered pregame dinners.
And meeting basketball celebrities such as Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Wilt Chamberlain, a "very, very cordial" Magic Johnson, the "basically OK" Larry Bird, even Mr. Wacky Worm himself. (Dennis Rodman once said hi to an amused Roberts, pointed at his microphone and told him, "You do a pretty job with that thing.")
Imagine the drudgery he must also suffer through while being forced to attend the biggest hoops events that come to town — from the A.D. Era at the old to the Stockton-to-Malone Hall of Fame heydays, the 1993 NBA All-Star Game, two NBA Finals, the heroic heave by Sundiata Gaines to tonight's must-win Game 4 against the Los Angeles Lakers.
All up front and center, of course.
Jazz fans, how 'bout this job!?
It's a tough task, but someone's gotta do it — and the full-time kitchen and bath designer will (twist his arm) take one for the team.
Roberts has been doing P.A. work since the early 1970s. While dabbling with a radio career at KALL, he was the Utah Stars' arena announcer from 1971-75. He was also at the courtside mic for the Utah Prospectors of the Western Basketball Association and, a bit more prominently, did voice work for University of Utah games upon then-coach Jerry Pimm's recommendation.
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