Exclusive: Surly Mae's (@SurlyMae) Courtside Experience

USA TODAY Sports

Thoughts and observations from her evening at the Jazz/Pistons game, courtside with Utah Jazz owner Greg Miller.

From Ms. Surly:

On Monday, thanks to @prodigal_punk (#TPC, #GARF), I was one of the fans picked to watch the Detroit game courtside with Greg Miller. Maybe some of you, knowing how I am, expected me to give Greg a hard time (#UDQM). But having only been a fan since 2006, I don’t have the attachment to or knowledge of Larry Miller like so many of you, and when Greg took over after Larry passed away, I thought it was a good thing. I remember it being something I looked forward to. And other than the whole Sloan debacle, I’ve pretty much been a fan of his. So I didn’t go into this experience trying to grill Greg or make any specific points to him. I just wanted to try my best to make it a fun, memorable experience, and for socially awkward me that mostly meant trying to have actual conversation without freezing up. In other words, I hope you aren’t expecting any hard-hitting journalism here.

On the twitter Jazz community:

When it came time to fill the empty spot, he was very impressed with how fans started nominating each other instead of themselves. Said he’s been really surprised with how close-knit we all seem to be. To which I replied, "Except when we’re at each other’s throats, of course." I explained tweet-ups to him and how awesome it’s been to find other fans to be addicted with. I saw him check Twitter on his phone throughout the night.

On doing things differently than his Dad:

He realized that getting angry and yelling at players not only didn’t help him, it didn’t make anything better within the team. He simply thinks there are better ways to handle it. Plus, he’s not his Dad.

On decision-making within the organization:

He’s only brought in on decisions when they’re ‘imminent.’ "If I get involved in the decision making, then I can’t hold Lindsey or Corbin accountable for what happens. They could just throw up their hands and say they were doing what I said to do. But now, since I’ve stayed out of it, I can hold them fully accountable."

On luring a free agent to Utah:

He said players these days want to win. "So we need to build around our main guys – Favors, Burks, Kanter, and Hayward. We need to use the draft to put the right pieces around them, create a winning team, and then we can get one of those free agents to come here. It’s not going to happen overnight; I think it will take 2-3 more years.

On Rinehart [Jonathan Rinehart, Jazz PR]:

(I asked if he ever felt Rinehart was uptight.)

"I wouldn't say uptight, but he’s not loose. He works A LOT. He works too much. And he takes his job seriously, he is a true professional. He’s a meticulous perfectionist. He’s….sober."

General observations:

  • When we hit 42 points, Greg leaned over to point out to me that the bench had just doubled the production of the starters. I replied that some would say that’s pretty typical. He responded, "I don’t know about typical, double is a lot!" I told him he knew what I meant. And he did.
  • The game is so physical - every player is beating up someone else every single play of the game. There’s no way the refs can catch every little thing. *Literally* no way. I’m surprised they catch half of what they do. And it’s so fast-paced! – I don’t think I’ll ever say again that so-and-so isn’t playing hard. Because if they weren’t playing hard they would be eaten ALIVE.
  • We happened to walk into the arena the same time as the coaching staff, and as Ty shook Greg’s hand and then all of ours, I distinctly felt that here was a man terrified for his job. And say all you want about Ty – I’ve been critical of him myself, he frustrates and confuses me beyond belief – but it really seemed to me that all the players respect him. On the floor they are constantly looking to him for guidance, searching out his voice when they can’t look at him, and then doing exactly what he says. I saw no exasperation, attitude, or defiance from any player towards him. I was honestly pretty amazed.

Random observations:

  • Ty’s pocket square did not match his tie in any way. Also, his suit pants had cuffs and I didn’t like that.
  • One of our coaches is pretty cute. I don’t know which one. #badfan
  • Marvin Williams is ginormous. Did not realize he was that tall.
  • Boler is old.
  • Cheerleaders are hotter close up.

Photo_medium
(via @SurlyMae)

    From Our Informal Text Interview:

    On Coach Corbin:

    [Surly]: I will say: we can be skeptical and critical all we want, but every one of those players respects Ty Corbin, so somebody is doing something right.

    [Me]: What makes you say that?

    [Surly]: They are always looking at him, to him, always listening for what he's yelling. He seems to have their full attention. And of all the people to have an issue with Ty, Burks came over and said he needed to come out; it looked like he hurt his thumb or something. Corbin said, "No, you need to be strong with the [expletive] ball", and pointed him down the court. Alec didn't roll his eyes, act exasperated, or like he couldn't keep going; he just did it.

    On Greg Miller:

    [Me]: Did you ever feel like he was blowing smoke up your [expletive]? (Note: we swear a lot.)

    [Surly]: Not once.

    [Me]: Was it possible he was just talking about the things he figured you would want to hear about?

    [Surly]: Sure. It didn't seem that way though. But, if he's that good at what he does, then the franchise is in damn good hands.

    Random Bits:

    • Greg Miller referred to the C4 as "our main guys" and talked about building around them during the free agent discussion
    • She has a PG crush on Jose Calderon
    • It helped her regain her love of Jazz basketball, which had been waning. As she put it, "Mostly all I could think was HOLY [expletive] BASKETBALL IS SO FUN TO WATCH! I REMEMBER NOW!"

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