I don’t know when it happened, but at some point Ryan Smith got to walk through the gate we’ve all wanted to walk through. Maybe it was this week? Maybe it was weeks ago? Or maybe it hasn’t happened yet.
What is that gate? It’s the one that let’s you inside everything the Jazz front office is doing. The draft board, free agency plans, coaching decisions, everything. He’ll get to walk through the war room where important decisions and phone calls are made. He’ll find out about the trades that almost happened, and the trades they’re trying to make. And he’ll have a say in all of that now.
Oh to be Ryan Smith during those moments.
What makes me smile is I’m sure he’s reacting the same way we all would. Probably a mixture of wonder, excitement and adrenaline.
And that’s why he’s going to be a fantastic owner.
We’ve already mentioned this before but the parallels between him purchasing the team are very similar to when Mark Cuban bought the Mavericks. A lifelong fan who grew incredibly wealthy in the tech industry and was able to buy their favorite franchise when it became available.
(Speaking of Mark Cuban, he seems to think Smith will be a great owner.)
i cant. but im a ryan smith fan and glad he is in the nba, not happy he bought a team in the western conference !— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) October 28, 2020
Mark Cuban took that Mavericks team from mediocrity to contention and an eventual title. What drove it? His passion for the team.
It’s what every fan dreams of. The ability to go all in with your team like they never have before. Forget the “bottom line,” let’s win a championship!
There are people saying that Jazz fans can be happy to know the Jazz will be in Utah for years to come, which is great, but the advantage of having an owner with this level of passion goes way beyond that. Someone who understands the team like we all do and will combine that knowledge and fandom with a skillset he’s used to build his own empire, it’s perfect.
If there was ever something that could possibly take the Jazz over the top, besides Lebron James or Kawhi Leonard suddenly joining the team, it was this.
This isn’t to say that Gail Miller wasn’t a good owner. She’s been one of the best in the league and we all owe her a debt of gratitude. The truth is if Larry Miller was the one who brought the Jazz to Utah, Gail Miller was the one who made sure they stayed here.
But recently there’s two things she’s been facing that could potentially threaten the team staying in Utah long term. The first was the financial hardship LHM is facing with Covid-19. Their company relies on industries that are struggling mightily with the pandemic. How long can they hold on knowing this may be a long term problem. And that brings up the second unknown with the team in Utah. What will happen when she is no longer around? Would her sons be as willing to keep the team in Utah, especially if the effects of the economic downturn continue long term? Would they sell the team on the open market to make up for future losses. No one can know for sure, but the trust was set up to protect the team with that in mind.
And so this sale of the team will actually be Gail’s final, and maybe her greatest gift to Jazz fans. By selling it to Ryan Smith, in a way, she has given the team to all of us.
I personally am really excited to see what happens with the team in the hands of one of our own.
For the Mavericks, Mark Cuban’s passion and intense desire to improve every aspect of the team propelled them to an eventual championship.
Could this be the first step towards that for the Jazz?
Time will tell.