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The Large Blocks of Text Edition - The Downbeat - #757

To go back to Yucca Man's Downbeat yesterday about toughness, jazzpatty and I both felt that the kind of toughness we'd like to see is more "standing up for your teammate" than retaliating with a flagrant/trying to thuggily break someone's neck/throwing a punch and running away. *cough* Carmelo Anthony *cough*

Don't know how many of you have read "To the Brink" by Michael C. Lewis, which covers the Jazz's Finals years. The following occurred on the night that John Stockton returned to the court--eight weeks after undergoing knee surgery--and it's the kind of "toughness" I want from my team:

By the second half, [Dale] Davis was plenty frustrated at having [Karl] Malone pushing on him from one side and Stockton giving him the business on the other. So when Stockton came charging into the lane with his elbows up, ready to lay another one on Davis midway through the third quarter, Davis simply threw out his enormous right arm and plowed Stockton to the floor. None of the referees blew their whistles, and Stockton was red-faced and furious. …

So, like the cantankerous player he was, Stockton charged right back into the key on the Jazz’s very next possession to set another hard pick on Davis. This time, Davis clobbered him even harder, sending Stockton sprawling to the floor between Davis’s legs.

Whistles went off like crazy this time, and as Stockton scrambled around trying to get out from the tangle of size 17s, Davis appeared to kick at him. The place erupted. Fans jumped to their feet in anger as Malone shoved Davis and [Mark] Jackson* pushed Malone, and [Jerry] Sloan leapt from the bench and raced to the other end of the floor in a frenzied search for some Pacer ass to kick. …

[Sloan yells for Davis to be ejected, and gets confirmation from Hot Rod Hundley, who has a view of the replay monitor, that Davis did indeed kick Stockton.]

Sloan, his righteous outrage now reinforced, turned back toward the refs. "He kicked him!" he screamed again.

[The refs give Davis a technical, and the Jazz make the free throw and get the ball back.]

With Davis guarding him, Malone called for the ball, got it, and ran right over Davis on his way to the basket. The refs made no call, and the layup scored. That inspired Indiana’s Reggie Miller, on the Pacers’ next possession, to show a little solidarity and try laying a hard pick on Malone, which is about like a palm frond deciding to set a screen on a fire hydrant.

[Miller and Malone crash to the floor, Miller goes "beserk" when he mistakenly thinks he got called for an offensive foul (the call is actually a 3-second violation on Davis), and gets himself thrown out. Jeff Hornacek makes the two technical FTs, Karl dunks on the next possession, Greg Foster makes two more FTs, and the Jazz have a 10-point lead--"all because of Stockton, who was headed to the bench for an ovation and a rest."]

*Mark Jackson: Once a jackass, always a jackass. Always a jackass, always a jackass.

One of the big stories of training camp was Tyrone Corbin's new "funnel baseline" defensive scheme. You guys know me, I get distracted by Enes Kanter's jog and watching the reactions of the guys on the bench. So let me put this to all you smart people: How well did the team do in implementing the new scheme?

Brad Rock of the Deseret News wrote a piece a week ago asking readers who should stay and who should go when 1280 and 1320 merged. As I'm writing this, more than 2,500 votes have been cast and the poll is pretty much stacked with 1280 personalities on top (who should stay) and 1320 personalities on the bottom (who should go). With the exception of David James, the top six vote-getters ("stay") are from 1280, while the bottom five ("go") are from 1320.

I was originally going to use this space to ask those that listen to sports radio what your hopes are for a merged 1280/1320, but I think the following, which has been transcribed for your reading pleasure, answers the question of what we can expect. The following is how Spencer Checketts and Gordon Monson's interview with Randy Rigby yesterday opened:

Monson: People know me as an independent voice. Sometimes I've been critical of the Jazz, sometimes I've been complimentary of the Jazz. But one of the deals in me being able to be here, was your [Rigby's] acceptance of my independent voice, and the Tribune plays a part in that obviously because they want me to have an independent voice. I have to take my hat off to you [Rigby], because you agreed for me to have that independent voice, to have an uncensored voice, and even for it to be in writing in my contract, and I think that's a positive. It's a good thing, even when I'm not blowing happy talk all over the place.

Rigby: The success of a sports radio station, or really any communications company, is its credibility. We have to be able to allow credible discussions going on with sports. I mean, everyone has opinions, and we want to let our listeners feel like they can have an opinion. Our own talents can have an opinion, and have them be credible, and Gordon Monson is one of those very well and credible individuals in this marketplace that we've always had respect for...

Monson: I thought that showed a great deal of confidence and security on your part, and many people have asked me that. They say, "Are you gonna be bought and paid for?" and I say, "No way. There's no way I'm going to do that, and I don't roll that way, and I never will." And when I talked to you about it, you looked at me like, "No duh, you know, it's fine. That's what we want you to do and that's what we want the fans who listen to the radio station to do to express their opinion and speak freely."

Rigby: Well, I have to say, I appreciated also, both [Salt Lake Tribune Editor] Nancy [Conway] and also [Salt Lake Tribune Managing Editor] Michael [Anastasi] over at the Tribune, and we had very good conversations, and it was very apparent early on that both of us wanted to be very transparent and make sure that that issue was addressed from both of us, and it's very important for both of our organizations to be able to have that open opinion. And that's the thing, by the way, I've respected also, when we brought Spence on as well. We want those attitudes and opinions from our talent. We've done the same with DJ and PK, and all of our talent, to let them feel like we want to have an open voice and good discussion on sports. We want this station to be where everyone wants to tune and really know that those issues on sports are gonna be addressed and beat up each and every day.

Checketts: ...But honestly speaking, Gordon, from your side of things, how integral of a part of that was it for you in order to maintain journalistic integrity? Because, and we talked about this to start the show a little bit, you've made a name for yourself, on air certainly for a long, long time doing different shows with different people on different platforms, but you're known around the country for your writing. When you think Gordon Monson, you think the Salt Lake Tribune, you think the most widely-read columnist in our state, and you're read nationally. The Jazz have a worldwide brand too. I'm sure there are people worldwide [that read your columns.] You're widely read. You're widely respected. So, for you personally, how important was that for you to maintain that journalistic integrity?

Monson: Oh, it was huge. It wouldn't have happened without it, and that's why Randy played such a key role in this whole thing, 'cause he's the one who stepped in. Randy, you probably had that conversation in every direction about this whole thing, and that shows confidence. That shows being self-assured. That shows that everything's gonna be ok even if sometimes we disagree. I mean, it's ok. That's what sports is about....let's say I rip Ty Corbin. Big frickin' deal! And Ty makes a mistake. I don't think Randy is sitting in his office going, "I hope they don't talk about that." Give me a break!...

Rigby: We're regularly, as we sit around the table, we're critiquing ourself each and every day. The point we've always made with one another, I appreciate always Kevin [O'Connor] making the comment, you know what, all we ask is fair discussion on our stuff. We're critical on ourselves as well. As long as people have really done their homework and done the analysis, and again, we feel like we should always, even with our players and our discussions, let's attack the issues in this discussion. Not necessarily on the individual person. I mean, we might be talking about a person, but not things of a personal nature, but more of a discussion as it pertains literally to their stats, their performance, those kind of things so that it's really on a business level, and not on a personal level.

Monson: ...I'm glad that we've come to an understanding, and Spence, knowing you and having talked with you a little bit, I think you're probably the same way. You wanna say what's on your mind. You don't wanna say what you're guessing somebody else wants you to say.

Checketts: Well, I just feel like if you don't do that as an on-air personality, you're not doing yourself any favors and you're also insulting people that are listening.

This video with a completely BRILLIANT soundtrack never got its proper due because, IIRC, shandonfan posted it right before tip-off of one of the Spurs games.

Trust me though, this will be the best six minutes of your day:

Many comments have been posted both here and on Twitter recently about the volume of posts published on SLC Dunk everyday. Some care more about having things to read and like the volume, while others like the conversation more and feel that conversation is being killed by posts getting quickly buried by new posts.

I did a quick count and we had around 190 posts in March and April (6-7 posts/day) and this is the 125th post in May (5-6 per day). Another quick count tallied 5-8 posts between Downbeats this week.

This is a community site, so let's take a community poll. How many posts would you like to see going up here per day?