Less than one month after surgeons worked on his knee and despite the advice of his aides, Gov. Norm Bangerter walked onto the Salt Palace basketball court Friday with determination in his eyes.
The event was the annual game between legislators and the governor's staff, a grudge match wherein the athletically inclined take revenge on the politically powerful within bounds set by Deseret News business writer Roger Pusey, who referees.With 7:29 left in the first half, and with his team safely ahead, Bangerter took off his judicious half-BYU, half-U. of U. warmup shirt and entered the game. While aides grimaced and wondered out loud if a stretcher was close at hand, the governor hobbled to the three-point circle and calmly sank two NBA-style three-point shots and a modest 20-foot two-pointer.
He re-entered the game in the second half to complete one more three-pointer, finishing with 11 points. The governor's staff hardly needed him, however. They disposed of the lawmakers 75-44. The players were quick to note that the score almost equaled the landslide vote lawmakers took recently in favor of an administrative rules bill the governor has vowed to veto.
As for the governor, he responded quickly when asked if he would consider signing with the Utah Jazz as a point guard. "Only if they give me Karl Malone's salary," he said.