Last week I had seats to the game down here in the Valley of the Sun. 3rd row behind the Jazz bench. Because of the low expectations for both teams, the seats around me were fairly empty. When I returned from half time, occupying one of the seats just down from me was the Wizard himself, DL. At first, because I felt like a dumb kid seeing Pam Anderson, I discreetly snapped a picture for proof. Then, I leaned over and sparked up a conversation. I ended up sliding down and talking to him for a good 15 minutes. One of the nicest chaps you'll ever meet. Very personal, engaging, and sharp. Here are a few of the topics we covered. I kept asking questions because he was so dang open and friendly.
- I asked what he was doing with his Blackberry. He showed me. Every play of the game he had a note or two on things that needed to be addressed: who was working well within the system, what Ty needed to know, etc. That's hands-on...
- I had noticed that Trey wasn't sitting behind the bench with Jeremy. He said Trey was at home getting intensive therapy on his hand. He showed me which knuckle on his pointer finger it was that was injured and explained that, until he was able to make a fist and squeeze a tennis ball without any pain, he didn't want to rush him back.
- He also said that the injury was somewhat of a blessing because he there were certain things that Trey needed to learn/see/develop that would have been impossible for him to learn correctly in the game.
- I asked how Gordon was handling having just not been locked into his extension. He said Gordon was more bummed about it than either the Jazz or Gordo's agent. He said that both sides know that he will remain with the Jazz after this season. He said that there were absolutely no hard feelings and that, at the end of the day, both sides felt better about not absorbing the risk that could come with over-paying or under-paying without seeing his body of work in a season as a lead man.
- Lastly, he talked about Gordon and Derrick and their futures with the team. He said both are not big-city kids. He said that Gordon and Derrick would never be attracted to the lights and glamor of the big city. He said that he would put money on Gordon retiring a Jazzman because Gordon loves Utah and because he is exactly the type of player that the Jazz want: smart, strong, athletic, and a great fit for the community.
- Throughout all of this, he was still ticking away on his Blackberry and was visibly frustrated at shots early in the clock, long 2s, and bad rotations on defense.
At this point, I was feeling bad for taking him away from his job. I thanked him for his time and slid back over to my seat. DL, if you read these websites, thank you for taking the time to make a diehard fan's night. I've already got the same seats for the game on the 30th and definitely wouldn't mind another visit from the brains of the operation.