TAYLORSVILLE — It’s an hour before tipoff at Bruin Arena, but David Webb and Jeremy Anderson have already arrived.
Draped in their customized, reversible navy-blue-and-white Salt Lake City Stars Superfan jerseys and hats, the season ticket holders get approached by numerous folks around the building before they settle into their Section F, Row 2, seats directly behind the Stars bench.
“Let’s go, Blue,” Webb yells, after the starters are introduced.
From then on, it’s lights, cameras and action as the duo are constantly up clapping, cheering and yapping at the opposing squad.
Ever since the franchise relocated from Boise as the Idaho Stampede to become the Salt Lake City Stars, starting in 2016-17, these two guys have been in attendance religiously.
Anderson has missed just one game, and Webb has missed three total in three seasons, and they never leave early.
“For them to be here every night, we’re very appreciative. I don’t think they’ve missed a game, and I’ve missed a game, so when you have fans like that behind you, literally, it’s awesome because they just want to see us do well,” said Utah Jazz two-way player Naz Mitrou-Long.
“They’re here when we do good, they’re here when we do bad. If we lose by 30, they’re here the next game, and if we win by 30, so are they, and every other fan that comes on a consistent basis; we really appreciate that.”
During a recent game, Lonnie Walker IV and Chimezie Metu of the Austin Spurs became the latest victims of the notorious hecklers who have built a reputation around the G League for their die-hard fandom.
“I’m still trying to figure out what’s on your head,” Webb trolled Walker at one point.
“No pressure, Metu, don’t think about it,” Anderson shouted as Metu stepped to the free-throw line during the first quarter.
Stars center Willie Reed even shared a laugh with the boisterous duo while on the bench dressed in street clothes after experiencing lower-back tightness.
“Hey, we’ve got a spot for you,” Webb offered Reed.
As much as their fandom is appreciated, the Stars front office has committed to building a family-friendly atmosphere around the arena with theme nights such as “Princess Night,” “Fairy Tale Night,” “Wizard Night,” and more recently, “Gaming Night” during the Stars’ 91-84 victory over the Spurs. Through the first nine home games, including two at Vivint Arena, the Stars drew a total attendance of 20,790 fans, but Webb and Anderson still stand out among the crowd.
“Legends, man. I love them,” said Jazz forward Georges Niang, who has spent time with the Stars. “I just think it’s great, especially in that G League atmosphere. You need like some, I wouldn’t say comedy, but energy, and they’re never short of it.
“I don’t care if we’re down 30 or up 30, I think it’s funny,” he added. “I think it’s personally hilarious. They need to get their own TV show with some of the lines they got.”
When they’re not at Stars games, Webb and Anderson live rather normal lives. Webb, 53, works as a photographer and actor in independent films, while Anderson, 39, does stand-up comedy in addition to working in retail and — interestingly — security at various sporting events.
They rarely attend Utah Jazz games nowadays because of the higher costs, but they have committed to being there for the Stars nightly while running an unofficial SLC Stars Fan Group on Facebook.
“We try to do stuff just to wear on their brains,” Webb said of opposing teams. “Wear them out, just wear them out and get in their head. If you hate playing in Utah, if the opponents are complaining, you’ve did your job.
“I’m a passionate fan,” he added. “I will do anything. If I love a team, I’m going to love a team, and I have a 160 IQ in the mouth.”
Talking smack from the stands at Salt Lake Screaming Eagles, BYU, Utah State and Utah Blaze arena football games has gotten them threatened and earned them dirty looks throughout the years, but they get a kick out of it. Both guys grew up playing sports as kids and relish the trash-talking aspect.
“I was raised on sports,” Anderson said. “My grandma took me to high school games as a baby, and she was hauling me to football, baseball and basketball games. When I got older, they took me to BYU games; when I was a teenager, my mom took me to Utah games, and my grandma heckles.”
Although Conduct Advisory notes are placed on their seats ahead of each game to make sure they’re aware of the NBA G League’s Fan Code of Conduct, they’ve occasionally crossed the line, including an ejection from a game last year for taunting a referee. They have also received verbal warnings from home security to tone it down from time to time and were issued a warning via email from the Stars organization to tone down their act.
Both say they avoid criticizing players or referees in any racial, sexist or derogatory manner. Webb and Anderson said they don’t sit behind the visitors' bench so they won’t cross the line with opposing teams.
In response to the Deseret News' inquiry about fan behavior, Stars President Jonathan Rinehart said in a prepared statement: “We appreciate the enthusiasm of all our fans and what they bring to creating a fun, affordable and family-friendly atmosphere at Stars games. Now in our third season here in Utah, we’re committed to building upon that foundation and continuing to grow our fan experience through offerings like theme nights, promotional items and the ever popular bounce houses and face painters found in the University of Utah Health Kids Zone to complement the high level of basketball played on the court.”
Some players have memorized some of the duo's lines.
“'You’re not good, you’re just tall,'” Niang recited, laughing.
Jazz players Grayson Allen and Tony Bradley also claim to hear them during games when they’re on assignment with the Stars.
“I don’t know how they do that. They go all game,” Bradley said. “It’s good to have them behind us talking trash. Most people don’t even talk back to them, but I know they hear them.”
Whether you love or hate them, Webb and Anderson have become just as much a part of the Stars experience as the post-game autographs with two players after every game or the kid-focused halftime acts.5 comments on this story
Amid the Kids Zone, complete with bounce houses, face painting and pop-a-shot, are Webb and Anderson, as they like to spread the word of the Stars every chance they get while getting under the skin of opposing teams as often as they can. It’s why they show up so early and leave Bruin Arena so late for all the Stars home games.
“It’s the purpose of any trash talk,” Webb said. “If I can get in your head and I can disrupt your process, then I win. If I’m sitting up there talking smack to you while you’re trying to shoot a free throw and you clank one, what does that do?”