"LONG SHOTS AND LAYUPS: Memories and Stories from the Golden Era of the Utah Jazz," by Michael G. Snarr, Classic Day Publishing, 311 pages
Almost 30 years ago, Michael Snarr was a rookie with the Utah Jazz. You probably don't remember his name. He never appeared on a basketball card. He never suited up in the famed purple, green and gold uniforms — the sweet ones the team brought back this season.
No, Mike Snarr isn't a household name. But his work for the team left indelible marks on the franchise — ever heard of the Delta Center? EnergySolutions Arena? The Zion's Bank Basketball Center? Snarr was a key figure in negotiating those deals and more. From 1986 until his retirement in 2015, he worked in sponsorship sales. He shared memories from the "Golden Era of the Utah Jazz" in his self-published book, "Long Shots and Layups."
Snarr didn’t merely work for Larry Miller to earn a paycheck — he was also a Utah Jazz fan. His book weaves candid stories about dropping the ball in an Eagle Hardware sponsorship together with heartbreaking memories of Michael Jordan's championship-winning heroics during the Jazz's two title runs. "This is a sports book with a business slant," he wrote, "or maybe it's a business book with a sports slant.
Snarr's passion for basketball and marketing alike brings each story to life — from the sponsorship deal with Altius Insurance that nearly fell apart to the one practice in Jazz history when John Stockton was actually late. All the names are here — from Karl Malone, Jerry Sloan and Michael Jordan to Randy Rigby, Denny Haslam, Questar Gas, and Siegfried and Jensen.
Readers can expect some "dad" jokes and "dad" advice along the way — each chapter concludes with a numbered list of takeaways about living a balanced life, giving 110 percent, and this crucial recommendation: "If you must choose between a blue and a black car, trust me, pick blue."
You can also expect a few touching moments, as when Snarr recalled not seeing Stockton at the funeral of Jerry Sloan's first wife Bobbye, only to discover later that Stockton traveled to Illinois prior to the funeral, spending days on the farm working the fields with Sloan to keep him occupied after such a difficult loss.
"Long Shots and Layups" brings you Utah Jazz history like you've never experienced it before — from the perspective of a franchise insider whose X's and O's dealt with soft drink contracts and tire commercials, but whose heart felt all the highs and lows of Jazz fandom during the team's golden era, through the D-Will and Kirilenko years, to the drafting of Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell.
With another promising Jazz season upon us, it is a real treat to look in the rearview mirror as Snarr, a Jazzman, talks about how we got here. It would be a real treat to catch a game with him, but reading his book is the next best thing.
Content advisory: "Long Shots and Layups" contains no strong language, violence or sexual content.