Maybe you don't recognize names like Tyrone Brazelton, Mike Efevberha, Leemire Goldwire or Haminn Quaintance from this year's Rocky Mountain Revue.
But you'll probably remember these: Shawn Kemp, Latrell Sprewell, Jermaine O'Neal, Rasheed Wallace, Stephon Marbury, Steve Nash, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki and Elton Brand.
Alumni of the Rocky Mountain Revue, one and all.
So much for an obscure little tournament in the mountains.
That's the thing about the Revue you never know who's going to show up. It could be some guy ticketed for a career in Europe, or worse, a career at Jiffy Lube. But he might be a future All-Star.
With the final days of this year's Revue looming it ends Friday at Salt Lake Community College the obvious question is how long this can last. You have to wonder about an eight-team league that includes the Iranian National team and the Developmental League All-Stars.
What, were the Washington Generals busy?
Two or three years ago, the Revue was fading like an independent gas station. That's because the Las Vegas Summer League had nearly cornered the market. Vegas has an abundance of what most NBA players deeply appreciate: sex, money and bling.
Salt Lake has a really swell Pioneer Day parade.
Vegas has all-night parties and free drinks. Salt Lake has Wheeler Historic Farm.
From a high of 15 teams in 1996, the Revue shriveled to six in 2005 and 2006. This year's Vegas event drew 21 teams.
"We were on shaky ground, because we were concerned with what was going on in Las Vegas," said Jazz president Randy Rigby, who has been involved in the Revue for 23 years.
So a year ago, Rigby and other club officials met with NBA brass about the future of the Revue. They wanted to know if it had a purpose. Sure enough, the league said it did and pledged continued support. Since then, Jazz officials say the Revue is here to stay.
Seems the NBA wants the Revue as a sort of counterbalance to the glitzy Vegas affair.
"The commissioner was adamant about our established role. It secured our long-term future," said Rigby. "We really think this is a great place for a summer league."
Rigby isn't alone in that opinion. Some coaches and team owners think Las Vegas is (surprise!) just one more place to find trouble. They like the Revue being in Utah, and they especially like the college setting for the games.
"A lot of coaches and teams have said they enjoy the atmosphere in Salt Lake," said Rigby. "Teams can pick and choose which environment is best for them."
So here they are, the yin and yang of summer hoops. Vegas has a mayor who once suggested graffiti vandals should have their thumbs cut off on television. Salt Lake has a mayor who just wants to be on speaking terms with the Legislature.
Teams can decide whether they prefer a Joan Rivers impersonator at the Riviera or "Annie Get Your Gun" at Hale Centre Theatre.
This, of course, hasn't been one of the Revue's best years. Attendance is lagging, as witnessed by a Tuesday promotion that allowed fans to attend three Revue games, plus a Bees baseball game, for $5.
Not that the drop-off was unexpected. The Jazz picked 23rd in this year's draft. When they took Deron Williams at No. 3 in 2005, interest was booming.
Nevertheless, says Rigby, the Revue is still prospering.
"We're always looking to make it a profitable venture. But as much as making money, it's a marketing vehicle to promote basketball and promote the Jazz," Rigby continued.
The Revue allows Jazz coaches to scout not only their own players, but those of other teams some of whom could end up on 10-day contracts. Additionally, the coaches get to stay home, rather than travel to Las Vegas, or the other NBA-sanctioned league in Orlando.
So with the blessing of the league, the Rocky Mountain Revue rolls on. It may not be glamorous and sexy, but for a nominal fee it allows fans to see tomorrow's stars today as well as a bunch of guys who might end up playing in Korea.Catch them now and sort them out in a year or two.
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