On Saturday they played like the Jazz of old and on Friday they looked like the Jazz of old. Way old. Now that we're in the retro spirit, here are five memories current Jazz guys have of old Jazz guys:
1. They're statues for a good reason Part I
"Of course, Karl, John," Andrei Kirilenko recalled when asked about early Jazz history. "Those two guys, they've always been symbols of Utah for the last 30 years. My first memory definitely is the Finals against Chicago — all those Michael Jordan move(s) on Bryon Russell, Jazz being successful and losing the game by like one, two points. It's not unfair, but it's like so close, so memorable." Tell fans and B-Russ about it. That's also what Carlos Boozer associates Jazz history with: "Just Karl (not the 1979 Kilpatrick one), John (not Crotty or Drew) winning ... just having so much success and playing in the Finals against the Bulls."
2. They're statues for a good reason Part II
Asked about his familiarity with the ole Jazz, Mehmet Okur, now 30, talked about tuning in as a teen in Turkey: "When I was 17, probably, I said to myself, 'I'm going to be NBA player one day.' And then at the time I started to realize my talent, my skills and everything. Then I follow NBA basketball — Stockton, Malone, Jerry Sloan." Rookie Wesley Matthews had a similar introduction from Wisconsin before his teens: "Stockton, Malone, legend. Hornacek, Bill Russell, everybody. I just watched them growing up playing against the Bulls." (Timeout: Matthews really did accidentally say Bill Russell, but no big deal. Could've been the green jerseys that threw him off. Everybody has a slip of the tongue. Heck, even writers have typoos. Plus, we all know he really meant to say Bill Robinzine from the 1981-82 Jazz.) Back to Matthews: "I was a Bulls fan back then ... I really didn't like (the Jazz) because they always gave them runs."
3. The Big ... Turk, Dawg, O and Easy
Memo knows where the Jazz got their nickname, but he's definitely more familiar with the olden (but not just Polynice) days in Utah than Louisiana. "Antoine Carr, you know the big guy." (Goggles? Woofed a lot? Yep, hard to forget.) "Ostertag, Jeff Hornacek ... Bryon Russell, let's see, Howard Eisley." And your list, Kirilenko? "Pete Maravich, he's definitely the first one. ... Adrian Dantley, Thurl Bailey, Mark Eaton, those guys."
4. The guy who might've driven Sloan batty
If you never saw Pete Maravich play, do yourself a favor and go to our blog to watch highlight clips. "He was amazing," said Matthews, who joined Kirilenko and Paul Millsap in marveling about Maravich. "Arguably one of the greatest college players to ever play. He averaged 40 points a game for his career. Wow." Added A.K.: "The fashion started from him." Now imagine how fun (head-butting, clash-of-the-styles fun) it would be if Pistol Pete played under the current Jazz coach, who's not exactly a fan of razzle or dazzle.
5. The guy who Sloan loved but drove foes batty
Yep, Matt Harpring. The all-but-retired 33-year-old kinda seems like the brother on TV shows who's away at college and is talked about but never seen. Utah's rookies have never met him, after all. Sloan waxed nostalgic about the oldie-but-goodie last week: "It didn't make any difference what the score was in the ballgame, he always put out the effort that you appreciate in a player." So, coach, any memories of playing against the old Jazz? "If I did, I can't remember playing there (New Orleans). That tells you how old I am ... that shows you what a good memory I have. So, if you question me on timeouts, I forgot."
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