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Jazz Bear Birthday Bash

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The Jazz Bear had quite the turnout at his birthday party

Golden State Warriors v Utah Jazz - Game Four Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

For those who missed it, Saturday was Bear’s birthday, and he had a bunch of friends over to celebrate.

The Jazz posted a video of various mascot “shenanigans” from the party.

Happy belated birthday to Bear. A spotlight on Bear wouldn’t be complete without a snippet from Wikipedia:

“Bear was introduced to the league on November 4, 1994.[1][2] Since Jazz Bear’s introduction, he has performed at over 800 Jazz home games.[1] Utah Governor Gary Herbert declared October 10, 2013 as “Jazz Bear Day” in recognition of his 20th season as the Utah Jazz’ mascot, and also his countless hours of community and public service and his standing as an important citizen of Utah.[1][3] In 2006, Jazz Bear was inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame. The Bear has suffered many injuries while performing, including tearing his bicep and rupturing a tendon in his calf.”

We appreciate the blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into being the Utah Jazz’ mascot. The Utah Jazz aren’t just a roster of 15+ basketball players. The coaches, the management, the ownership, the entertainment and the fans are all part of what gives the Utah Jazz its identity. To further celebrate this event, here are some Bear gifs.

Thank you, Bear, for going above and beyond in your line of duty, and making games fun to attend, regardless of whether it was an up or down year on the court.

Twitter user @rgiss11 threw down a hot design idea for a possible future Jazz City Jersey, and it has caught some pretty solid popularity for a fan-made design. He combines the idea of the retro mountains, with cool tones of blue in a gradient referencing the modernized 2017-18 season city jerseys. Take a look for yourself.

While this is a fan-made design, it does hype up the possibilities the Jazz could come up with for future seasons. We have some talented graphic designers working on our jerseys, and with the new landscape of NBA jerseys, the options are limitless. With the golden J-Note jersey and the Moab-gradient jersey, the crew has earned some respect from me, and I know I personally will be very slow to pass judgement on grainy leaks from now on until I see a finished product on the court.

I took a look at nba.com’s team stats page and listed every stat in which the Jazz are top 5. Here is a roundup of those:

  • 2nd in Steals Per Game (8.8)
  • 4th in Three Point Percentage (37.3%)
  • 4th in Clutch Free Throw Percentage (82.4%)
  • 5th in Bench Net Rating (3.3)
  • 3rd in DRtg In Wins (97.6)

Other stats of note are:

  • Joe Ingles currently leads three point shooters in Three Point Percentage, knocking down a scorching 44.8% of shots behind the arc.
  • The Jazz currently sit at an Offensive Rating of 105.5, which is good for 15th in the league. In February, the Jazz were the 8th best Offensive Rating, 110.7.
  • The Jazz have a Defensive Rating of 103.7, which is the 6th best in the league. This is including all the stats during the rough stretch when Rudy was injured. In February, the Jazz were the #1 defense, putting up a Defensive Rating of 98.9 points per 100 possessions.

These stats show that the Jazz seem to have figured things out. An 11-game winning streak will do that for you. The Jazz have put themselves in the driver’s seat, and their further play will determine their chances of making the playoffs. If we see more lackluster play, then we will have worked our way into arguably the quicksand of the NBA, where we miss the playoffs, but do not have as valuable of a lottery pick to obtain a high-impact player to improve the team. If we continue to win, however, this year could really be something special in hindsight. It would be a real testament to the talent we have got here if somehow, some way, the Utah Jazz made it to the second round of the playoffs this season. Either way, this year’s team has been entertaining to watch, as they grow together and learn coach Quin Snyder’s systems. Donovan Mitchell has been another entertaining and endearing story to follow. Dante may soon return. Jae Crowder was traded to play for his father’s past team. Rudy Gobert is beginning to hit midrange jump shots (more or less). Hope is on the horizon.

In more melancholy news, a prominent NBA agent, Dan Fegan, was killed in a car crash. USA Today reported:

Influential NBA agent Dan Fegan died in a crash involving his passenger vehicle and transit bus Sunday near Aspen, Colo.

...

At one time, Fegan represented some of the biggest names in the NBA: Dwight Howard, DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall, Ricky Rubio, Amar’e Stoudemire, DeAndre Jordan and Shawn Marion.

For the majority of his time spent playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Ricky Rubio was represented by agent Dan Fegan. Rubio reportedly switched agents in May 2017, not too long before being traded to the Utah Jazz. Well wishes and prayers go out to Dan’s family and those that were close to him.

In an effort to end this article with a more lighthearted mood, Damian “Dame” Lillard has a lot of ties to Utah. It stemmed from his time spent at Weber State University, and seems to get deeper as he has rapped about his time in the Wasatch Front (which made it onto the NBA 2k18 soundtrack), and apparently has a connection with Utah Jazz assistant coach Johnnie Bryant. Eric Woodyard of Deseret News writes:

“That’s my big brother,” Lillard said. ...

Lillard’s bond first formed with Bryant as early as middle school. At the time, Bryant was still playing for the University of Utah while Lillard was making a name for himself in their hometown.

They would train in the offseason together at California’s Berkeley Adult School, also known as “West Campus.” Literally nothing in the crackerbox gym was state of the art from the wooden backboards with black tape to form the boxes to the dusty floor and old-school rims.

It’s hard to root for a star to leave their franchise, especially so after experiencing such a blow firsthand. However, I hope at some point in his career, Dame gets a chance to return to Utah. I can only salivate at the idea of playing Lillard next to the likes of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. This fantasy may never come to pass, but a guy can dream, can’t he?