Utah Jazz Extra: It is, and will be, the Utah Jazz, not New Orleans
Related poll: Vote on whether or not to keep the Jazz name at the Jazzland blog.
The Hornets' new owner kicked a Jazz nest by claiming he wants New Orleans' long-lost NBA nickname back where it originated (in the city with a famous street named after liquor, not roads based on positioning from a religious edifice).
Quick history reminder
The Big Easy couldn't keep an NBA team in the 1970s — despite having the most entertaining player to ever don a uniform (Pistol Pete Maravich). As a result, New Orleans lost its players, colors, nickname, Hot Rod Hundley and all that Jazz to Utah (not including rights to Jazzercise or Neil Diamonds' "Jazz Singer" songs).
Not so jazzed about his team's name
On Friday, Saints/Hornets owner Tom Benson had the following to say after announcing he's buying New Orleans' NBA team:
"We need to find a name like (Jazz). Whether we can get that or let us use that, you've got to know we're working on it. We'd like to change it tomorrow," Benson said. "We have not gotten that approved, but we're not letting up on it, either, because we've got a good relationship with the commissioner and his people and we're going to be on them daily to do something."
(I'm sure David Stern can hardly wait for Benson's daily call: "Hey, Commish! Asked Gail Miller for her team's name yet today?")
Playing the name game
Some would like to see New Orleans and the Jazz reunited. Yahoo! NBA blogger Kelly Dwyer wrote, "that name is meant for New Orleans."
Utah certainly isn't the only place with a name that's incongruent with its locality.
Ricki is the only lake of note in L.A. Grizzly bears in Memphis? North Carolina has great college names like Blue Devils, Demon Deacons and Tar Heels, yet the pro team goes with Bobcats? The Maloofs are a royal pain, but when was a king last spotted in Sacramento? Did Gandalf and Dumbledore lead the renaming committee in Washington to go from Bullets to Wizards?
The way Golden State is tanking, do they resemble Warriors?
And here's guessing Utah has more jazz bands Canada has raptors. Of course, that won't stop New Orleans fans from chanting "There ain't no Jazz in Utah!" every year.
Finders keepers, right?
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin is excited for New Orleans to have stable ownership. He's glad the team won't be relocated. He is happy employees of the local NBA franchise won't lose jobs.
But when asked about Benson's request, he grinned and responded, "He can't have it back."
With all due respect, of course.
"Utah Jazz," Corbin said. "That's what I know."
Another thing he knows: "I'm sure it will work itself out, but we can't give up our name."
Corbin added: "I saw a New Orleans shirt the other night that had Jazz on the bottom. I wanted to put a piece of tape over it and put Hornets on it."
Fan survey says …
A sampling of Jazz fans' reactions after Hoopshype.com asked if they'd be willing to swap the name for high draft picks:
@averagejoseph: "Sure. I barely recognize this franchise anymore since Larry's boy took over anyway!"
@ Jazz_ute and @ackpack34: "No way!"
@Mik3y_J: "I sure would" (trade for No. 1 pick or two)
@djdarenc: "NO! Jazz name is ours. From a boy, now a man, and when I become a great grandpa... I want to feel like the Jazz are MINE."
@flyskiwake: "No way. We have built upon that name and given that name an identity with the likes of Sloan, Malone, and Stockton."
@SurlyMae: "Nope. Wouldn't give up the name for a dozen rings either."
Finally, a heartfelt plea sent to me from New Orleans resident Paul Guillion (visit Jazzland.blogs.deseretnews.com for the entire letter): "Jazz is New Orleans. It is the very essence of our city. ... It's not a team nickname for us. It's a Name. Jazz represents everyone in New Orleans. If you guys can have (a) chance to correct this, please give us the Name back."
Today vs. Dallas, 7 p.m., ROOT
Bad news: Jazz have lost seven straight to the Mavs. Good news: Jazz killer Lamar Odom is an ex-Mav.
Wednesday at Portland, 8 p.m., ROOT
Jazz won't have to face LaMarcus Aldridge (hip surgery) as they end a rough road season in R.I.P. City.
Saturday vs. Orlando, 8:30 p.m., ROOT
Al Jefferson might be the happiest man on the court, seeing as Dwight Howard (back) won't be on it.
HOT: Derrick Favors
Second-year power forward has notched three consecutive double-doubles.
NOT: Enes Kanter
Rookie center hasn't pulled down more than five rebounds in two weeks.
The BIG stat
Golden State was 18-25 when owner Joe Lacob said "We think we can get our pick back" from Utah. Since then, however, his tanking team has gone 4-12 — a .250 winning percentage. The Jazz get the Warriors' first-round pick if it's not in the top seven after the lottery.
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