Utah Jazz Week Journal Part 1: Washington Wizards

This week is my annual group of Utah Jazz games on the East Coast (but no Knicks’ game because they play at MSG on March 7th).  So there will be a lighter emphasis on comedy and a heavier emphasis on Mormon-favored hoops teams (fitting given that Big Love began its final season on HBO this Sunday).

So yesterday I was in Washington D.C. on Martin Luther King’s birthday to honor his legacy in a fitting way: watching black men run around for teams owned by white men.  The Jazz played horribly and lost.  It was the first time I had seen a loss in person in almost 4 years.  As far as highlights – Javale McGhee of the Wizards had one of the best dunks I have ever seen in person – an and-1 alley-oop, and Deron Williams played a great game for the Jazz.  Here’s McGhee’s dunk:

Other than that it sucked.  The only thing that suffered more than Jazz fans (the Wizards are terrible) was the legacy of MLK during the game.  Here is a breakdown:

  • Before halftime there was a montage of MLK clips.  No problem, right?  Well, there is when they are accompanied by “I gotta feelin'” by the Black Eyed Peas – America’s favorite multi-cultural anthem writers.
  • Also before halftime, the attractive and annoying (so a net plus) woman who walks around the Verizon Center doing promotions on the jumbo-tron, said the following: “In the spirit of MLK day, we asked the Wizards players, ‘If you had a holiday, what would it be?'”  Then all the players gave silly answers, often about relaxing or having the day off of work or getting money.  Exactly – because nothing says “in the spirit of an assassinated national hero” than “let’s see what other ridiculous ideas for a holiday we can come up with.”
  • At halftime they played the I Have A Dream speech.  It sounds almost cliche today, until you realized – oh Sh*t – this is the original!  And it was a very stirring speech, except that the Chipotle blimp kept motoring around the arena.  The message – some things are more important than equality, inspiration and heroes.  Like corporate sponsorships.

Another pet peeve of mine, with sports arenas in general is inconsistency of concession stands.  My brother, who bought the tickets for Christmas for me, purchased club seats, which are very nice and in a semi-segregated area (MLK DAY!).  The problem is that the only snacks you can have are sort of deluxe snacks.  Why can I not want a pretzel and Twizzlers if I have more expensive seats?  Why would I want a Mexican bistro with my hoops game just because my seats are semi-special?

So sadly the Jazz lost.  Sort of sad when you think about it.  The Jazz are named for the heavily African-American influenced art form founded in Salt Lake City, while the Wizards are a name sometmes associated with bad treatment of African-Americans.  But I guess on MLK day it was ok for once for the Wizards to be grand.