When the Jazz made it to the NBA finals in 1997 for the first time, Jerry Sloan said, "These guys have been criticized the last few years for not getting to where we're going, but I've always said that the most important thing in sports is to keep trying. Let this be an example of what it means to say it's never over."
What was Jerry Sloan talking about?
As fans we tend to be myopic. We criticize and we judge.
Doesn't matter how good our team is; we can find a flaw if we haven't won it all. Believe me, I know.
I grew up in a different era; I remember a time when the Jazz had not been to the NBA finals. I remember being frustrated as a fan for running out the same type of guys and the same plays year after year and always coming up short.
My best friend and I both loved the Jazz and we both had our own pet criticisms.
I thought it would be good for a laugh if I shared some of those criticisms with you:
1. Jazz are too predictable
2. Everyone stands around and watches Karl Malone
3. Jazz have too many white players to win
4. Jazz never go out and get good free agents
5. Our bench sucks
6. Jerry Sloan
-doesn't develop players
-can't win without a 7'2"+ center
7. John Stockton
-is too short to be able to be effective against the good teams
-is not athletic enough
8. Karl Malone
-chokes in big games
9. Mark Eaton
-can't make a dunk
-can't make a shot from two feet out
-can't catch a pass
-is too slow (clearly we had our issues with Eaton)
10. Thurl Bailey
-turns the ball over too much
-is too slow
11. Greg Ostertag
-is too slow (okay, so one of our pet peeves was players being too slow)
12. Antoine Carr
-is too old
-is a washed up Mike Brown
No, we didn't have any advance statistics. We just watched the games. We had fun.
Did it matter? No; the Jazz persevered and made it to the finals.
In retrospect, a lot of the criticisms are funny to think about now given the myopia my friend and I had (especially given that we were in the age range 15 to 18 when we came up with them.)
If you are old enough to remember, and brave enough to share, what were some of your criticisms of Jazz teams past? Have fun and let's share a laugh or two.