Some people just deserve to be put into stone for all of eternity. This becomes an increasingly difficult thing to figure out if you have more than four worthy people -- such is the case with American history and Mount Rushmore. And such is also the case with the Utah Jazz. My solution was to make a few mountains -- and let the Jazz fans decide which one they liked best.
This mountain has the faces of John Stockton and Karl Malone, two Hall of Fame players; Jerry Sloan, a Hall of Fame coach; and former owner Larry H. Miller -- who was the main reason the Jazz stayed in Utah despite financial difficulties. The case for John and Karl are obvious, and Sloan requires no introduction. Younger fans may not know how great LHM was. He was a businessman, but he looked into his heart and his guy and ended up buying all of the Jazz when it was a bad business decision. He didn't just use his brain all the time, and he really was the heart of this franchise. He was like a father to Karl Malone, and Andrei Kirilenko, and Mehmet Okur -- when their fathers were either miles and miles away, or completely out of the picture. He had a fiery disposition and a disarming smile. His passions ruled him, and one of his passions was this team. Without LHM they'd be the Las Vegas Jazz right now.
Players Only Mount:
In the case that you think only players deserve this honor you have Stockton and Malone, then Pistol Pete Maravich, and Adrian Dantley. There's no point in naming all of their accolades, All-Star appearances, scoring titles, and in-game memories. All four are Hall of Famers. Only John and Karl went to the NBA Finals though. I guess the struggle for Utah for the longest time wasn't finding stars -- but surrounding them with enough talent to go far. These four players were at the tops of their respective games.
- Pistol had Jazz averages of 25.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 5.6 apg, 1.4 spg.
- AD had Jazz averages of 29.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.7 apg, 1.1 spg
- John had Jazz/career (only played for 1 team) averages of 13.1 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 10.5 apg, and 2.2 spg
- Karl had Jazz averages of 25.4 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.4 spg, and 0.8 bpg
You feel bad leaving off Mark Eaton here because he was a huge part of what we did, but don't worry, I didn't leave him out.
Jazz 2.0 Mount:
This one is a little crazy because many fans have mad memories of this time. But if you look at just the "good" times this group of players formed one of our best core groups ever. I'm of course talking about Deron Williams, Andrei Kirilenko, Carlos Boozer, and Mehmet Okur. This is that "if only" group that if only we could have gotten by the Los Angeles Lakers perhaps they would have done more damage in the playoffs. Non-pouty Deron was a beast with a chip on his shoulder. Healthy Andrei was one of our most explosive players ever. Healthy Boozer was a 20 and 10 guy, and we've only had 2 of them ever in the last 30 years. And Memo, he gave his own body and shortened his career for this team. I'll never forget in the game he got hurt in, in the playoffs, he was completely torching the Nuggets. He hadn't missed a shot and would probably have gone for 30+.
These guys all left the team through trades or free agency. And they never came back to the level of excellence they had in Jazz uniforms. Many new Jazz fans cut their teeth on this group, and I think the good old days still give us warm fuzzies.
The 2013-2014 Jazz Mountain:
This isn't so much of a mountain right now as it is a hill that needs to grow and grow with tectonic plate activity. I just picked the guys on our team right now with the highest MPG ... and that is Gordon Hayward, Trey Burke, Derrick Favors, and Alec Burks. This isn't going to be our "Jazz 3.0", we can't know that. But it's a collection of the playmakers on THIS Jazz team.
No Enes Kanter on that list because Mt. Rushmore is only four great guys. And there's no guarantee that the four guys on THIS '13-14 mountain will be here for the long run. Man, uncertainty sucks.
The Misfit Man-mountain Mountain:
I need to change things up and move away from worrying about our team. How about a mountain with our biggest bigs on it? Mark Eaton, Greg Ostertag, Kyrylo Fesenko, and Rudy Gobert? It's like the sliding scale of capability. Or at least, a great fan-fiction thing to write about for the off-season. (IN this episode of Mountain House, Fes takes O-Tag to a rave, and he discoverers the joys of MDMA and Acid House.)
Eaton was a beast, Tag sometimes got the job done, Fes rarely got the job done, and Rudy isn't even getting a chance to apply for the job. At the very least, these guys are already the size of mountains, so they could just stand there and we won't need to make model replicas to assess the engineering hazards.
So, which foursome should represent the Jazz on a Mr. Jazzmore?