SALT LAKE CITY — Tyrone Corbin has a special spot in his heart for Hot Rod Hundley.
That was quite clear Friday when the Jazz coach was asked to comment on a media report that the legendary announcer is suffering from moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
“It’s sad,” Corbin said. “But we’re praying that he continues to fight and that life is as good as it can be for him.”
The 79-year-old Hundley, who lives in Phoenix, became one of the most vocal and visible members of the organization while calling games on TV and radio as the voice of the Jazz for 35 years, beginning in 1974 during the franchise’s inaugural season in New Orleans.
Hundley’s passionate and colorful play-by-play included lines like “You gotta love it baby!” and “With a gentle push and a mild arc, the old cowhide globe hits home!" Over the years, he became part of Jazz lore along with the Hall of Fame careers of John Stockton, Karl Malone and Jerry Sloan.
Hundley, the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft out of West Virginia in 1957, was honored by the Jazz after his 2009 retirement. The EnergySolutions Arena pressroom is now called “The Hot Rod Hundley Media Center” and is adorned with photos, images, paraphernalia and quotes from his distinguished playing and broadcasting career.
Corbin smiled when thinking about what to say about Hundley.
“Great, great,” he said. “We really miss having him around. He’s been around the Jazz organization forever.”
FAVORS UPDATE: Jazz center Derrick Favors participated in the majority of practice Friday, but he is a game-time decision as the team returns to action Saturday night against Washington after a three-day break.
Favors missed Tuesday’s home loss to Minnesota with a strained right hip abductor.
“I’ve been doing a lot of treatment and therapy with it,” Favors said. “It feels a lot better.”
Favors tweaked the muscle after landing awkwardly after dunking on the first play of the game in Detroit last Friday. He played that night and Saturday in Minnesota. He might’ve continued through pain before being counseled otherwise by teammate Marvin Williams.
“I was going to play through it,” he said. “Marv told me to be smart about it, go tell the trainer.”
Favors said the muscle still “kind of hurts” when he moves sideways and does defensive slides.
KEEPING FOCUS: Corbin is warning his guys that they are entering a danger zone heading into All-Star weekend. He wants his players to remain focused for the next nine games before the five-day break in mid-February.
“It’s another stage in the year you have to learn to fight your way through it,” he said.
Corbin noticed his team wasn't as focused in consecutive losses to the T-Wolves.
"It's typical of teams getting close to the All-Star break. You're starting to decompress a little bit, but you've got games to play and we can't afford to do that," he said. "We'll figure something out so we can come back. We've got to get the effort to play our way through it and not think that it's just gonna happen and get through it."
EMAIL: email@example.com TWITTER: DJJazzyJody
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company