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Boxing Great Muhammad Ali passes away, the Utah Jazz family remember him - Downbeat #1928

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Muhammad Ali memories, Utah Jazz stardom, and dreams of a 12-month profitable downtown core

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RSVP now for honoring Frank Layden, former Utah Jazz icon. Also, send in your resumes -- the LHM Group really needs your help to make the Aunt Viv worthwhile outside of 41 home games. It's not all doom and gloom, though, check out some great season rewinds for our team and look at who the most popular Jazzman is according to ESPN. Also, and first, going over Muhammad Ali, his life, his successes, and his legacy.

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I really don't know where to begin when it comes to the passing of one of humanity's greatest sports icons. Last night Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) passed away. He was 74 years old, and already in critical condition in the hospital. He started training at the age of 12, at age 18 he won the Gold Medal in the 1960 Rome Olympics, and by the age of 22 he was the World Heavyweight Champion after defeating Sonny Liston in 1964. He would finish up with a 56 and 5 record over all of his years boxing, winning 37 of his 56 matches by knock out. He wasn't the most powerful, strongest, or highest endurance pugilist ever. But he was without a doubt one of the quickest, and both in the ring and out of it, the smartest.

He has won everything, from the Arthur Ashe courage award, to the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to countless awards big and small in other countries all over the globe -- from top honours from the Queen of England to having a shopping mall in the Philippines named after him. He lit the Olympic flame in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta -- a ceremonial honor that shows just how far he had come and how far America had come with him over his life. He wasn't always embraced by traditional, conservative, White America -- not after converting to Islam or being vocal and opinionated about everything from race relations to being a conscientious objector to the Vietnam war. He was a target for the NSA back before we know what that was.

Other stars adored him, be them in other sports, or entertainment, or even politics. And you can argue that with ease in front of the camera, his charisma, and his in-ring success really helped make him the first global super-star.

This was from the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta. And apparently Reggie Miller tweeted this before I did.

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Here are some other Jazzland social media tweets to Ali:

Current Players:

Derrick Favors:

Rudy Gobert:

Joe Ingles:

Trevor Booker:

Chris Johnson:

Current Coaches:

Johnnie Bryant, Assistant Coach:

Retired Players:

Mehmet Okur:

Earl Watson:

Stephen Howard:

Scott Padgett:

Retweeted by Minnesotan former player Quincy Lewis:

Dee Brown:

Mike Brown:

Blue Edwards:

Former Players still in NBA:

Enes Kanter:

Ian Clark:

Extended Jazz family:

Dante Exum's twin sister retweeted this:

Clearly, Ali was very inspirational and his story and achievements remain memorable. I can understand that the audience of this site may not have had many reasons to root for him, or know why he was important. But almost universally the people we do root for felt like he was an iconic winner and athlete to look up to.

And once again, we are now left with an Earth that has been dimmed once again, losing a great man whose brilliance shone across languages, cultures, countries, and ideologies.

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Moving back to the Utah Jazz, former best ever coach Frank Layden (let's be real, he won Exec of the year and Coach of the year in the same year) will be honored!

From the press release, Matt Sanchez writes:

On behalf of the BYU Management Society, Frank Layden will be honored at the 23rd Annual Distinguished Utahn event on June 14 at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Layden was the cornerstone of the organization for more than 20 years as a head coach, general manager and president, helping establish the Jazz as an integral part of the Utah community and bringing national attention and respect to the franchise.

Past Distinguished Utahn honorees include Larry H. Miller, Lavell and Patti Edwards, Spencer Eccles, Jon and Karen Huntsman, and Governors Olene Walker and Michael Leavitt. Proceeds from the dinner and auction provide need-based scholarships for Utah high school seniors. For more information, please visit https://saltlake.byums.org.

- Matt Sanchez, Utah Jazz, 2016

This is cool! And not just because it finally gives you something to do on Flag Day (June 14th). Also, speaking of the Delta Center EnergySolutions Arena Aunt Viv, they are looking for an Event Marketing Manager!

Of course, we're piecing together all the information, and this new job could have something to do with the theory that arena upgrades will benefit the local economy at large.

The SLTRIB's Aaron Falk get into this story.

The Utah Jazz and Vivint Smart Home Arena have been key pieces of downtown Salt Lake City's economy for more than a quarter century. And as the Larry H. Miller Group, owners of the NBA franchise, plan for a $100 million renovation of the arena, officials expect the investment to be well worth the cost. According to an economic impact analysis commissioned by the Jazz and Salt Lake City, the roughly $100 million project would mean an estimated economic benefit of $173 million for the Wasatch Front.

Over the expected 25-year life of the arena, Miller Sport and Entertainment will invest an additional $2.8 billion in arena operations resulting in $4.3 billion returned to the Utah economy in the form of salaries and wages paid; services, supplies and materials purchased, and taxes paid.

"We were very conservative in how we approached this," said Christine Richman, an economic analyst at GSBS Consulting who complete the analysis. "The arena ... is an important asset to the vibrancy of downtown and the economic impacts reflect that."

Jazz officials have not publicly said how the project will be financed; however, it is expected that the Miller family will contribute the vast majority of the money. When the Millers built the arena in the early 1990s, the only public support came via a 10-acre donation from Salt Lake's Redevelopment agency. Vivint Smart Home Arena president Jim Olson said financing for this renovation would be "consistent with the funding mechanism and plan when the arena was originally built."

Jazz officials believe the arena has and will continue to help spur growth and development in the surrounding area.

"When you look at the past 25 years and the development that has happened around the arena, it's nothing less than significant and impressive," Olson said. "We think that by renovating the arena into a first-class venue, our plan is to get another 25 years out of it and we'll see the same type of growth and development."

Natalie Gochnour, an associate dean of the University of Utah's business school, reviewed the Jazz's economic impact analysis. As the chief economist for the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, Gochnour also helped produce another report, EnterpriseSLC, which aimed to identify key projects needed to improve Salt Lake. Among the top priorities: extending the life of the arena.

"The arena is recognized in the minds of business leaders and small business owners in Salt Lake City as a major economic asset. I think it's easy to understand why," she said. "There are 40-plus home games a year. Every home game brings visitors to the urban center. Those visitors use restaurants or parking lots or clubs, contribute to the vibe of downtown, make downtown a destination, if you will. The arena is seen as a big part of the economic fabric of the city."

Officials believe improving the Jazz's arena and new ownership of the Gateway will help drastically improve an area that has struggled some since the opening of the City Creek Center in downtown.

- Aaron Falk, Salt Lake Tribune, 2016

However, we should not forget that the eggheads at Stanford University wrote in 2015 that "Sports stadiums do not generate significant local economic growth." Why am I harping on this? Well, the ultimate pressure is coming from the NBA. They were the reason why the Jazz have been upgrading over the last few years -- including the new lights package, jumbotron, and so forth that allowed them to do the SportsVu tracking program that is better to the NBA than the small market teams. I guess the LHM Group knows that they'll never get public support for a new arena unless they can prove that this arena thing is good for the rest of downtown. And the LHM Group knows from the Sacramento Kings (and the Seattle Supersonics) that if you can't get an arena when the NBA wants you to then you will be losing your team.

So having more events at the Aunt Viv, hiring a new marketing manager, and doing even more upgrades . . . it's all preemptive work to make sure the NBA doesn't pressure the Jazz into even more costly work in the next few seasons.

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All of this talk is boring, right? Why worry when we have highlights to watch!

More? Okay, here's some sweet shooting from Gordon Hayward!

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Who are the most famous athletes in the world? ESPN took a look . . . and there's one Jazzman in there. Of course, yeah, just sort by sport to find him.

This [Spoilers] tells us that the Jazz continue to be an unpopular team with unpopular players. Isn't this what marketing is for? Or is that the "Family Night" deal that's six hot dogs? Or is that sales? I don't know. But what I do know is that none of our current players are where they should be -- if the team was going to be a playoff monster in the near future. Not only do minutes help you develop and gain experience faster, but it also helps with exposure. (And stats) It's all related. And being a star helps you win games. The Jazz really messed things up during that dark period, and the franchise is collectively behind where they should have been by now.