(Re)Introducing ourselves – Meet the SLCDUNK.com Crew

[Ed. Note: Yes, even this - especially this - had to be edited. Links to the pictures exist. Thanks NBC!]

Since Basketball John, our Ron Swanson, went all Duke Silver on us we had to add a few members to the team. We all should know each other already from various posts, fanposts, game threads, other blogs, and of course twitter. But just in case you wanted to know more about the people who you see down in the masthead at the bottom of the page, we made this post. I hope you enjoy – and feel free to add your own introductions!

Also, if you are not familiar with Parks and Recreation then you are kind of boned here . . .

Basketball John (@5kl)


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Ron Swanson (aka Duke Silver)

[Amar’s Note] John (Kris – see it’s already so complicated and filled with double lives!) is the boss. He doesn’t like to get in your face, and prefers that things follow common sense. He was never an authoritarian, but he commanded respect. Just like the boss of the Pawnee Parks and Recreation Department – Ron Swanson. He also had a double life as a Jazz musician that he didn’t want anyone to know about. BBJ has left our "office" here, off to pursue a life far from the trappings of a daily news and opinion blog. Which necessitated the changes here.

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The New Bosses:

Clarkpojo (@JazzingItUp)

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Chris Traeger

[Amar’s Note] Clark is a super great guy, and honestly is the yin to my yang here. I don’t know if he has a resting heart rate of 40 beats per minute like Chris does, but he’s a diligent, supportive, and very observant guy. After Basketball John’s departure we both agreed to team up and work together. I think we also lean on each other. In the show Chris and Ben are brought in to run things after things get out of control. I think Clark and I fill the same niche here. Take it away Clark!

Clark: "I've been watching Jazz games religiously since I can remember. I actually couldn't remember the first game I ever watched, but I remember missing my entrance for a fourth grade play, because I was in the green room listening to the radio play by play of a Jazz and Chicago Bulls game. When I was in the sixth grade I wrote a biography of my favorite hero John Stockton. To write that biography, I basically copied sections out of a book written about Stockton and pasted them into my book. Not a lot has changed with my writing since.

I was always a big Jazz fan, but when I moved to North Carolina in the fall of 2007, I realized how much I loved them. I purchased league pass and watched EVERY game that was on. I loved watching my team play, but I also loved to break down player tendencies and imagine trades and signings that would make the Jazz better. I started to use statistical analysis to scout players and determine how playing time and shots should be distributed. I shared these findings with anyone that would listen to me, but really no one would. No one likes professional basketball in North Carolina.

When my friend @TheShums told me about SLCDunk, it was one of the coolest websites I had ever seen. It gave me an opportunity to share my ideas with other Jazz fans and also gave me a venue to better my writing. My first post was on the psychology of a Jazz fan back in July of 2008 and I was honored to have a few of my posts put on the front page by Basketball John. I write for a hobby, I would do it somewhere else if not here, but I can honestly say that I am glad I am writing here as opposed to anywhere. This is the best website there is if you are a Jazz fan. I truly believe that."

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AllThatJazzBasketball (@AllThatAmar)

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Ben Wyatt

[Amar’s Note] Ben is a numbers guy, and he doesn’t seem to know how to slow down or enjoy himself. The former 18 year old mayor of his small town (I guess this is me being the solo webmaster of the #3 Utah Jazz blog on the net years ago), Ben grew up and became an adult somehow. It would be silly to suggest that he does all the work when he and Chris are sent somewhere, because if it wasn’t for Chris’ positivity and steadying influence Ben’s formality would just rub everyone the wrong way. Similarly, I may get to dig deep into spreadsheets and conduct business communication behind the scenes – but it all would be pointless if I wasn’t also working with Clark. Together we kind of form the one person that Basketball John / Kris was. I love being ‘co’ bosses with Clark here at SLCDUNK. Here’s a bit more about my personal journey here:

Amar: "Hi everyone, I’m a guy and I love the Jazz. Actually, the second part of that statement may be an understatement. I fell in love with the Jazz during the 1987-1988 season for a variety of reasons, perhaps primarily because a) my brother felt like I was bad luck and shouldn’t root for his team, and b) because I could not wrap my head around the concept that out of all the nicknames in the world some guy would be called "The Mailman". (Karl is, and has been for years, my favorite player of All-Time.)

Having been infected with being an NBA fan way back in 1984 (when I was living in Los Angeles), the hunger for the game has travelled with me all over the world. I used to do my homework in junior high in front of an international feed of CNN Headline news so I could see the periodic crawl on the bottom of the screen showing me an update on the Jazz game when I lived in Canada. I later risked getting in trouble on my graduation day from high school by wearing a retro Jazz beanie cap with my strict private school’s school uniform. When I was studying preventative and social medicine in India I would periodically leave for the hospital late, waiting for ESPN’s horribly capricious game cast to update on third world dial-up – counting down the last few plays on one of those super late overtime games that didn’t start till a billion o’clock PM because it was the second TV game.

As an international Jazz fan I had to devise countless sneaky ways to even GET Jazz info. How I envied you "in State" Jazz fans who had it so much easier than I did. Now I live in Detroit, and can share my love of the Jazz with all you people online – in the most super easy way possible: clawing my way up to be a major part of the best Jazz website on the entire internet!"

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Our charming and colorful teammates!

DianaAllen (@DianaAllen)

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Leslie Knope

[Amar’s Note] Leslie Knope is the star of the show "Parks and Recreation", so why did we (somewhat unilaterally) pick Diana for her? Well, while it is true that Diana is one of the newer members of the team, she’s a highly positive optimist who isn’t afraid to do anything. In her last post she was putting in charts, and a few nights ago tweeting about stuff she was researching on Synergy! (Should I watch my back; like when Ron was wary of her the episode where he thought she shot him on a hunting trip?) I’m sure Diana has had offers to continue writing about the Jazz elsewhere (be them print or online), she somehow accepted to stay with us here at SLCDUNK. Diana, it should be noted, has lots of friends in powerful places - as she recently sat next to Jazz CEO / Owner Greg Miller court-side; which is a very Leslie Knope "friends in high places" type of deal. I also theorize that both enjoy waffles with whipped cream. May I present: Diana Allen!

Diana: "My fandom started on a night in 5th grade coming home from seeing the Utah Symphony. On the bus ride home I was sitting next to my friend Johnny, he couldn’t stop talking about the Jazz, I was a very nice little girl and listened though I really didn’t understand much of what he was saying. When I got home my dad was watching a game, I decided to watch. I started by asking my dad a bunch of questions, he answered simply, Jazz basketball is Stockton to Malone.

I started to become a crazy Jazz fan right before the Dream Team and when the All-Star game came to Salt Lake City. My dad on a snowy, snowy February day agreed to drive me downtown to attend All-Star Jam Saturday. One of my favorite memories with my dad and the Jazz.

I had a lull in my fandom after my mission and when I was first married. I was still a fan during my lull just not crazy. I once again became a crazy fan after we randomly decided to attend a Jazz game on New Years Eve of 2005. Lou fell in love with AK, I with Memo and the craziness began."

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Moni (@Monilogue)

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Ann Perkins

[Amar’s Note] Ann Perkins is a smart, educated, professionally successful individual who, had fate not sent her a chance friendship with Leslie, would never have gotten all messed up in Parks and Recreation business. She didn’t even work at City Hall! Yet she’s a huge part of the show. This is so Moni, as she has her own (still currently running, still awesome) Jazz Blog – and would be still just as respected and appreciated if she never posted anything at SLCDUNK.com. Twitter BFF’s with Diana, Moni brings so much to the table -- more than just playing off of Ann and Leslie’s relationship on the show. And it’s no big secret that she’s actually the funniest of our group – just like Ann on the show. Here’s Moni:

Moni:"This is my 20th season being a Jazz fan. I got my hoops passion from my mom, who I’m very, very proud to say loves basketball, went to UCLA, lived in LA, and was never a Lakers fan. In 1992, my mom was watching the Dream Team play in Barcelona so I started watching with her. I knew next to nothing about the sport and I probably hadn’t heard of 10 of the 12 players, but I was just really drawn to the way Karl Malone played. I loved seeing how hard he ran the floor, and the force with which he dunked and rebounded. When the regular NBA season started a few months later, I was a Jazz fan.

When I got to college and applied for my first credit card, one of the first things I did was get a subscription to "HomeCourt Magazine." From an ad in the magazine, I then applied for a Utah Jazz credit card that I never used, but still have because it’s pretty and has the Jazz logo on it. From then on, my fandom just grew, and grew, and grew. Today, the Jazz calendar serves as my daily planner.

No surprise to anyone that my favorite Jazzmen of all-time are Karl Malone, John Stockton, and Andrei Kirilenko. I might miss Jerry Sloan most of all, though."

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Yucca Man (@YuccaManHoops)

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Barney, the hilarious accountant / professor

[Amar’s Note] Jon requested, very politely, to be Gary "Jerry" Gergich; but no, no one on our team is "a Jerry". If anything Jerry’s way of stealth-tanking his way out of the spotlight is the plan for this Jazz season. I decided that Yucca is most like Barney – even if Barney has only been in three episodes. Barney is, in my mind, the only person in the entire city of Pawnee who has their collective stuff together. He’s damn good at his job, he doesn’t deviate into stuff off-topic, and he absolutely steals the scene every time he shows up. If you’ve read Yucca’s work on this site you’ll see what I mean. I don’t think anyone else on this website can match his "Rec’s per Post" efficiency. (And no, I haven’t started keeping track of that for real . . . yet) Just like no one can match Barney’s hilarious jokes (intended and unintended) per screen time. Also, they both teach. The man, the legend – Yucca:

YuccaMan: "My real name is Jon, but go ahead and keep calling me Yucca. It feels like my name here after more than two years.I don’t know if it matters, nor who cares, but I like knowing the backgrounds of other bloggers, so here goes: I went through two B.A. programs: Creative Writing first, and later Physics. So although I understand stats, can use data, and think scientifically—my heart is really in stories and fairy tales. My two B.A.’s somehow led me to teaching elementary school—and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I first joined SLC Dunk when Stock and Sloan went into the Hall of Fame. My first Fan Post that mattered was "Trade Boozer for a Can of Tuna." In one of my first Game Threads I participated in the discussion that ultimately nicknamed Wesley Matthews OMSW. Though I think it was Clark’s idea first. I wrote many Fan Posts over my first year—usually arguing passionately for the virtues of AK-47 and Wesley Matthews. I also predicted Millsap could replace Boozer just fine (yeah!) and that the Cavs would make it to the playoffs after LeBron left (doh!).

I was made an official SLC Dunk writer when Deron was traded, and I pleaded for everyone to stop bashing him. I still make that plea. The dude gave us everything he had for five and a half years.

Growing up in Utah, it was easy for the early days of Stockton and Malone to convert me when I was just a kid. I’m still in Utah now and have no expectation of leaving. Ever. It’s been a blast writing for SLC Dunk, and I look forward to my new, bigger role."

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Prodigal Punk (@Prodigal_Punk)

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Andy Dwyer

[Amar’s Note] This isn’t just a cop-out by making the guy with "punk" in his screen name be a guitar playing future rockstar, erstwhile shoe-shine-ist. Nor is this just a simple situation of letting Dustin get it because he asked first. Wait, it’s not? Dustin is the new guy (as new as you can be for a guy who joined back our community back in 2008). But he’s already the guy we all can’t help but to love. Andy and Dustin are both filled with good natured innocence, and unbridled (perhaps some bridling is necessary) enthusiasm. I’m sure if there was a guy at SLCDUNK that had to vault a help desk while wearing rollerblades, or tackle a wild animal with his bare hands, or live in a pit . . . Prodigal Punk would be the first to volunteer. You may also know him from another Jazz blog, where he routinely does his Bert Macklin, FBI stuff. Give it up for Andy Radical Dustin!

Dustin: "Admittedly, my Jazz fandom doesn’t stretch back as far as I can remember. Sure, I spent most of my life in Utah (Ogden, to be exact), but I was born in Arizona, had lived in San Diego and the LBC (as the kids call it), so when you’re an adolescent in lower class Ogden and can claim a good team like the Suns, you do it. The Jazz were just so… white, so suburban Utah. The Suns had KJ, they had Sir Charles, hell, even Thunder Dan was so tan that he looked non-Caucasian.

Then, I had a breakthrough. I had moved to the suburbs and even started playing Jr. Jazz. I loved it. I got to see the Brown Bear and David Benoit, and started paying attention to Jazz games.

By high school I had a new best friend and we started watching all the games in the second half of the 96-97 season and I was hooked. I still remember that fateful evening in 1998 as my friends and I walked through the streets of Maui during our Senior Trip, looking sullen and dejected.

My fandom continued until the preseason of 2000 when I shipped off to the Navy. The odd thing is I remember very little of basketball from then until I returned to Utah in time for the 06-07 season to commence. Its as if I subconsciously avoided any news of basketball during that time. Maybe it was due to the lack of attention the NBA got during those bleak years, but I like to think that I got to leave with nothing but the memories of the best years of Stockton and Malone in my memory. I never had to watch The Mailman in Lakers yellow (its yellow), and I’m perfectly fine with that.

Now we embark on a new era here at SLC Dunk. Hopefully we don’t end up seeing Kris in Lakers yellow."

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UtesFan89 (@UtesFan89)

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Tom Haverford

[Amar’s Note] Utesfan89 is Tom Haverford. Not because they are both well dressed brown guys who are super smooth with all the ladies. And it’s not just because they were breakout stars early on in the run, but now relegated to increasingly smaller and smaller parts because of non-Parks and Rec / non-SLCDUNK responsibilities, either. Without a doubt, Utesfan is Tom because they both know how to "Treat Yo’ Self." Or at least, I kind of wish Sujal did treat himself like Tom did. (That stress’ll kill ya, brother) Tom is a business man trying to use his talents in a very un-business place. Similarly, Sujal is a business major who is somehow making it all work in medical school. They both can focus on like a laser beam on reaching their dreams – which both may or may not involve marrying a tall, leggy, Canadian doctor. Treat yo self to some Utesfan!

Sujal: "Some of you know me as UtesFan89 (or Sujal, for you twitterers). Newcomers here won’t know me. I was one of the first to sign up for SLC Dunk, way back when; I even wrote here for a while. (Un)Fortunately, life took a strange unexpected (yet fully expected) turn, and I was stuck trying to balance my desire to write about the Jazz, life and this time-eating hobby called medical school. Guess which won? So now I just talk a lot on twitter – occasionally I talk too much.

I have been following the Jazz since I was 5 (born & raised in Utah), and my favorite player is John Stockton. My current favorite Jazz player would have to be Mehmet Okur Andrei Kirilenko Kyrylo Fesenko Greg Ostertag … um, I don’t know. The recent overhaul to start our "we’re not rebuilding" rebuild has filled the team with strangers. I’m a fan of them all. Almost. I love the draft. I read a ton of stuff from wherever I can find it on any potential prospects, hoping the Jazz one day drafting the guy I want them to draft (still waiting). I’d draft to fill a need.

I spent years hating that Jarron Collins got minutes while the youngsters didn’t. I spent a season cheering my heart out for a team led by Keith McLeod – and loved it. Tom Gugliotta was my idol for half a season. I have always believed that CJ Miles will put it together. I was on team "keep AK". John Stockton’s 3 is my most favorite moment as a sports fan yet. I dreamt of building a time-machine so that I could go improve the Curtis Borchardt draft. Or the Humphries/Snyder/Podkolzin draft."

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TazzJazzFan (@Texas)

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Jean-Ralphio Saperstein

[Amar’s Note] Just like you can’t have Leslie without Ann, you can’t have Tom without Jean-Ralphio! Yes, Mat is guy who knows his way around the hottest clubs, talks in an uber-hip, moon-man language that no one can understand sometimes (he claims he’s from "Australia"), and is who you call if you want to party (Vousdeux). Both guys serve very specific niches – products of their own interests. J-R brings it, hard, with his – whatever it is he does. (forcing character introspection and development through being a party-boy?) Our own Tazz is an Xs and Os guru who actually runs the Flex offense. Last, but definitely not least, is Mat:

Mat: "Hey Dunkers! You all know me as TazzJazzFan/Tazz or @Texas on Twitter, but my real name is Mat. I live in Hobart, the capital city of Tasmania, which is the pointy island state below Australia, so my claim to fame is that I'm quite possibly the southernmost Jazz fan in the world!

I've been a Jazz fan since I was 13 or so, after seeing a replay of the Jazz beating the Bulls in 88 and seeing Stock getting 17 assists! As a little baby PG in the making he left a pretty big impression on me. John Stockton is still my favourite player ever and I cried like a baby at his Hall of Fame speech. Heck, I wear number 12 when I play to this very day! I also wear a Jazz wristband every game, have done since I was 16, which to me symbolises all my Jazz Family worldwide coming on the court with me when I play. I blame y'all for every missed 3! (I kid.)

Thanks to the Internet I now get to watch and rewatch every Jazz game and discuss it with all my Jazz Family here and on Twitter, which helps make up for all those years where I was the only Jazz fan around. I'm pretty lucky that my job (IT Helpdesk Manager) lets me be online during the day so I can sneakily watch and listen to League Pass and have Twitter open.

I was lucky to be a pretty good Baller in my youth, who *almost* went semi-pro so I have always enjoyed watching Ball from the "X's & O's" perspective, watching for what plays teams run, how well they execute and what works and why. In the X's & O's posts I'll be writing regularly on here I'll share that knowledge with you all, so you can start to not only appreciate the athletic ability of the team, but also their basketball smarts, the work the coaches do, and hopefully you will be able to spot some things discussed here as they happen in the game. If you ever see a play or sequence that you would like broken down, or have any requests for any articles on the Offense or Defense of the Jazz feel free to tweet at me or mention it on here in a recap.

I'm very humbled and grateful to be working with the other writers on here, some of whom I've been reading for years."

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Thanks again to all of our team for taking time out to do this!

Please, please, please feel more than welcome to include your own blurbs in the comments section. Also follow us on twitter, that’s why I did all the HTML magic to make it easy for you. And no, the order of these write-ups do not really denote any codified structure or ‘rank’. If anything, it’s based on how important the character is on the show, and has little to do with the blog itself. Or something…

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