FanPost

"HORNY" in Logan...

I was actually late to this lecture so I missed the beginning. The only FREE parking was out by the Chase Fine Arts Building so it was quite a walk back to the Taggart Student Center.

It was a real treat to have Jazz Legend Jeff Hornacek come to Northern Utah. He was invited to Utah State University as part of the Art and Lecture Series. I felt that all the die hard Cache Valley Jazz fans united for the first time in the Taggart Student Center Ballroom tonight. The man himself was alone on stage sitting on a stool with a microphone. It had the appearance of a comedy club. ”Horny Unplugged” did not disappoint. He first spoke more like a motivational speaker and offered advice, then he shared some NBA stories and took questions. I would like to highlight some of what he said.

*ADVICE

It was very simple 1) be prepared 2) set little goals to set yourself up to grow 3) hardwork

His family did not have money for him to go to college. He worked making cups for McDonald’s his freshman year. He worked hard to earn a scholarship and pushed himself to make it playing basketball. He became an accounting major at Iowa St. He would have played longer had he known the Stock Market would crash in the 2000s.

*NBA STORIES

He spoke a lot about his family. It was very clear that family is #1 for him and has been during his career. He typically brought his kids to player meetings and other NBA functions. He said he never thought highly of our friend Allen Iverson when he first came into the league. He thought he should never be let in the league. Iverson was at one of those meetings when Horny brought his kids. To his surprise Iverson came up to them and introduced himself politely. He talked to his boys for a little bit. He was very nice and friendly to his kids. This changed his view of Iverson. I guess he’s not that bad, eh?

Horny says he started the whole unusual free throw routine (wiping his forehead saying ”hi” to his kids) that players like Jason Kidd (blows a kiss) and others do now. “No one else did it when I started doing it”.

He was hesitant to share this Larry H. Miller story but went ahead. When he was a rookie playing for Phoenix, they played the Jazz in the Salt Palace. Back then Larry’s seat was right next to the visitor’s coach. Horny did not know who Larry was. Larry was getting fired up and yelling during the game. At one point Horny got upset and said, “Sit down you fat #@$!” Then all the PHX bench started to laugh. When in the game, Stockton gave him a shot and said that he just yelled at the Jazz owner. “Oops!” he said and then thought, “It’s okay. I’ll never get traded here”.

He said Larry was the best owner because he was involved with the team on a daily basis and with the team from warmups to timeouts to postgame. No other owner does that.

He talked about that it’s normal for Gordon Hayward and Jeremy Evans to be “in awe” when they play certain players like T-Mac from the other game. He said he had an “awe” moment as a rookie playing against Larry Bird. He and John McCloud went to the Celtics pregame to watch Bird warm up and shoot. His “awe” moment came in the 4Q when PHX was up by 2 with a few seconds left. Horny was on the bench. Bird came up to him and the PHX bench after the timeout and said, “this is our play. I’m coming off a pick, going to catch the ball right here and shoot this 3 and win the game”. Sure enough, Bird comes off a pick and catches the ball right in front of him and hits the game winning 3, turns to him and says, “I told you someone better guard me” and walked off. He was in awe but then realized they lost so it did not last long.

There’s a chalkboard in the Jazz locker room that is set up next to a cement pillar. He says Jerry hits this chalkboard and yells at guys during halftime. One time someone moved the chalkboard in front of the cement pillar. Jerry came in fired up and hit the moved chalkboard. The yelling stopped and Jerry had a look on his face of “oh no, I hope I didn’t break my hand”.

Horny’s locker was next to Stockton’s which was right where Jerry speaks to the team. Jerry motivates guys by yelling at them or yelling at one to fire up another. He says, as veterans, he and Stockton used to laugh during Jerry’s ”rants”. They would put their heads down and cover their faces when laughing because they knew what Jerry was doing when he was yelling.

*QUESTIONS/INTERESTING COMMENTS

Asked when he started coaching with the Jazz. He started when AK broke down in the playoffs vs. Rockets. Said reason for the breakdown was that AK felt he was not earning the contract he got. He had been moved to 3rd option after Deron and Boozer. The purpose of his first year working with the Jazz was to build AK’s confidence then it evolved into more technique building and coaching. His duties grew when Korver asked him to ”watch him shoot”. At that time Korver shot the ball flat and helped him with his arch. Then Wesley Matthews asked for help and etc. He works with Gordon Hayward a lot now. Horny announced that today, January 11, was Day 1 working with Fes. He said he’s going to take Fes’ FT% from 37% to 50%. The TSC Ballroom erupted in cheers when he said that.

When asked if he knew who the next Jazz head coach would be, he said, “I don’t think that kid has been born yet.”
He went on the talk about his kids. He has one more at home so he won’t go full time coaching until his youngest has “moved out”. So maybe in another year we may see a larger role for him.

He talked about the “Dream Team Era”. This was a time when players played for pride and to win championships. The Dream Team guys did not play for money. The NBA now is more about the money than pride. He had no problem with Karl Malone leaving the Jazz and playing for the Lakers. “Karl is a Dream Team Era player and left to win a championship”.

Asked whether he thinks MJ pushed off on BRuss. “not a push”.

Favorite teammate(s). Kevin Johnson (KJ) and of course, John and Karl.

One other thing he mentioned was that players don’t seem to practice as much anymore. In “the old days”, you would shoot from 9-10am then practice 10-12pm, come back after lunch to shoot some more. Now he says “it’s like pulling teeth to get guys to stay for a 1/2 hr to shoot after practice. They like to run home to their video games.”

Whoa. I’m kinda tired. Writing a post is much harder that I imagined. I hope we all can appreciate all the SLCDUNK authors and their time posting articles. I know BBJ writes The Downbeat late into the night sometimes. This really was a neat night for Cache Valley Jazz fans.

They did have the 3 point contest in the Nelson Fieldhouse vs. Brian Green. Horny dressed in slacks and a polo can still hit the 3. Brian Green was in full gym attire. I’m not sure if they kept score. Both made shots while a large crowd surrounded the court. After, Horny shook hands, posed for pictures and signed autographs. It was great because he was talking to everyone, not just signing and moving on.

If you were in attendance, please comment or share something I didn’t. It was great that Mr. Hornacek took time to talk to us and let’s hope Fes gets up to 50%

All comments are the opinion of the commenter and not necessarily that of SLC Dunk or SB Nation.

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