Predictably, numerous media types in the Jazz locker room after Game 6 went around trying to get Utah players to agree that, deep down, it really was a pleasure to lose to hoops demigod Michael Jordan.
Jazz center Greg Foster good-naturedly played along when asked if he could appreciate Jordan's performance, saying, "You can appreciate it. Of course. He's the greatest to ever play the game, and he took over the game. There was nothing we could do."Some of his teammates were less obliging. Asked the same question, Antoine Carr said, "Not right now. Maybe when I come back and take time to look at it . . . but right now it just hurts too bad."
Adam Keefe flat-out refused to worship at the throne of His Untouchableness.
"I won't have many thoughts about Michael," he said. "My thoughts will be with our team. I don't know what you want me to say, that I'm happy for the guy or whatever. I'm not."
MEDIA STUPIDITY II: Keefe blistered another writer who tried to suggest that Keefe was one of five Jazz players who at one time or another in Game 6 tried to guard Jordan, who - according to the writer - "seemed to blaze out of nowhere" despite "people saying he's old and tired."
"That's hogwash," the Jazz forward said. "First of all, I don't think I ever guarded him. I don't want to ruin your story, but I don't think I ever guarded him.
"And I've been hearing that for four years with Karl (Malone) and John (Stockton), that the window's closing and they're slowing down, and that's not true," Keefe continued. "What makes them great players is that they're physically so gifted but yet they've developed the mental side of the game. They know how to play the game, they know how to prepare themselves, and that's what makes Jordan almost in a sense get better. He gets wiser, he takes care of himself well and prepares himself to play, and there's not many people out there who have that combination of physical gifts and smarts of how to play the game."
ONE MORE YEAR? Amid the endless, annual babble over whether this is the last running of the Bulls, no one seemed to notice that the Jazz aren't exactly getting any younger, and that their roster could have a different look next season, too.
Except, perhaps, Carr. The Big Dawg - one of two Utah free agents - took time out from being disappointed Sunday evening to make a pitch for keeping the Jazz's two-time Finals squad intact.
"I hope they'll consider what we've done over the past two years and bring us back again," Carr said. "I'd definitely like to come back and try it again."
LAYOFF LETHARGY: Foster suggested the Jazz might have been better off had they not disposed of the Lakers so quickly.
"Not making excuses, but that 10 days hurt us a little bit, because we were playing our best basketball before then, and we hadn't played our best basketball until the Laker series," he said. "That 10 days killed us . . . We were just out of sync."
IT'S KNICKKNACKS, PHIL: In an interview on NBC's halftime show, Bulls coach Phil Jackson was asked about possibly having coached his last game (Game 5) at the United Center.
"Somewhere on the drive home the whole family was in the car together and they were just saying, `Yeah, that's the last time you'll go down there,' " Jackson related. "And I said, `Yeah, you know, I packed my bags and brought the collection of riff-raff that's in my office home a couple of days earlier so I wouldn't have to think about it at this game and try not to attach too much to that. It's sentimental, it's nostalgic."
Yes, but it's not riff-raff, Phil. Unless you really did have an office full of disreputable people.
RECORD BOOK: If it's any consolation, the Jazz did manage to set three NBA Finals records this year. They scored the fewest points (481) in a six-game series, pulled down the fewest offensive rebounds in a six-game series, and attempted the fewest free throws (112) in a six-game series.
Stockton (147) and Malone (137) now rank 1-2 all-time for most playoff games played without winning a title.
CELEBRITY WATCH: Among the notables in the crowd Sunday:
- David Hasselhoff, the "Baywatch" star who is an avid Jazz fan. He sat in team owner Larry H. Miller's courtside seats and cheered enthusiastically for the home team.
- Leonardo DiCaprio, who sported a Brooklyn Dodgers hat and made a big show of hiding his face every time they turned a Jumbotron camera on him.
- Wrestler Diamond Dallas Page, who apparently will wrestle with Karl Malone in an upcoming pay-per-view tag-team match against the Bulls' Dennis Rodman - who probably still won't be able to handle the Mailman.