This weekend I was out on the road, which was a nice change of pace from sitting in sweatpants for 11 hours a day “on my way to the gym” while trying to finish Netflix (you read that correctly). However, as my comedy booking e-mails continue to go into spam folders (perhaps using the subject heading “Enlarge your penis by booking me at your club” is a bad way to get through web filters this weekend’s road tripping was to support my favorite sports team, the Utah Jazz. Perhaps other than “J-L is not booked to do comedy this weekend” no phrase makes less sense in the American pop culture landscape than “Utah Jazz.” As a quick primer they used to be the New Orleans Jazz, but then the team moved to Utah with all those swinging Mormon cats and decided that they should keep the name Jazz. especially if 30+ years later a team would come back to New Orleans and would prefer to be known as Pelicans anyway. I became a Jazz fan because as a young hoopster I liked Karl Malone’s gigantic arms (no homo), their purple uniforms (no homo) and John Stockton’s short shorts (OK, possibly homo at this point). And even at a young age the Jazz gave me a sense of identity as a sports fan away from my friends and family’s uniform admiration for the New York Knicks. Stockton and Malone gave me the added benefit as a mixed race child of seeing a black person and a white person work together in harmony, as opposed to my parents who had more of a Robert Parish-Bill Laimbeer relationship.
So with that backdrop I have been a die hard Utah Jazz fan for 28 years I went to see them against the 76ers in Philadelphia Friday with two friends (Pat and Jim) first and then against the Nets in Brooklyn on Sunday. Normally I also go to watch them play the Knicks, but when I looked up ticket prices for Knicks games, even the cheap seats had “anal rape” listed as the cost on Ticketmaster so I had to pass, which was disappointing since the Jazz won on a last second shot. Last year I went because I received Lorne Michaels (yes that Lorne Michaels) seats 3rd or 4th hand (#ComedyMogul), but the Jazz came as close to winning that game as I did to becoming a cast member on SNL. So on to this weekend’s festivities.
The first part of Jazz Weekend was Philly. That meant the PATH train from Manhattan to Hoboken, get picked up by Jim in his borrowed car and Daryl Dawkins’ game jersey, stop at Pat’s house where he was with his adorable two sons, reminding Jim and I that perhaps being struggling, unsuccessful comedians with no families of our own is actually a plan B for life, switch to Pat’s larger car for the Cranford to Philly leg of the trip and then watch a match up that NBA TV called “what the fu*k else is on tonight.”
The drive from Cranford to Philly was uneventful, because Pat (the Dad) did something I have never seen before – he kept perfect 62 mph pace with the GPS. We had a 90 minute trip according to the GPS and he arrived in 90 minutes. Not 89 or 83… 90. Being a Dad really changes people. I might just be mythologizing Pat, but I feel like if we took this trip 10 years ago he might have tried to lap the GPS in a race.
So we arrived at the Wells Fargo Arena just in time for the game and as a Wells Fargo customer (#ComedyMogul) I knew that I wouldn’t have to pay ATM fees (#Blessed). The game was great if you like terrible shooting and way too many t-shirt gun promotions. A thing I noticed about the T-shirt gun – it turns people into the rich seats into proletariat animals. Your seats cost $200 bucks – why are you screaming like a refuge who sees a UN Peacekeeper at a child’s medium piece of sh*t t-shirt? Our seats were much cheaper but we were closer to the haves than the have-nots, though if you are at a 76er game you are sort of a have-not by definition.
During the game there was a very cool video montage of Allen Iverson and when the crowd saw him in attendance on the jumbo tron it was the loudest the arena got until the very end.
As the game got to the end, with the Jazz possessing a very comfortable lead, the game within the game took shape. See Jim enjoys a bit of gambling now and then (now is every morning and then is every evening) and he placed a small wager that his 76ers would beat the 7.5 point spread. Well the Jazz had around a 13 point lead with just over a minute left. It looked like a lost cause for Jim until someone on the 76ers (I forget who) decided he would pad his stats with a barrage of useless 3 pointers. With 30 seconds left it was Jazz ball up 9. At this point Jim is losing his bet, but because of the 24 second shot clock the 76ers are guaranteed one more possession if the Jazz miss and the 76ers secure the rebound. Well with about 7 seconds left the Jazz missed, got their rebound and missed again! The 76er player trying to set the record for most 3 pointers made with no chance of winning took the ball, dribbled down court and raised up for a buzzer beater. SWISH!!! And the crowd went bezerk (Jim, Pat and I were the only people left and you would have thought they just showed Iverson again on the jumbotron putting on a 76ers jersey to play the next night).
All in all a great trip and a great win for the Jazz.
After a day off to almost go to the gym and declare that I would start eating healthy the next day I ventured to Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the Jazz-Nets game. I was picked up in a nice Uber car with my friend John in it (#ComedyMogul) and it dropped us off at the arena with a few minutes to spare, which was good since we had to go through a metal detector when we got there. I have been to about 10 NBA arenas and I think Barclays is the only one I have entered with metal detectors. Is that the NBA’s way of not so subtly saying that Morgan Freeman should take over ownership of the team until it is a better place to play (“You Shoot bricks don’t ya D-Will. Well,do ya?? You know what that does – it kills our fan base son, so if you want to kill our fan base stop fuc*king around and do it expeditiously!”)?
When we finally got in the arena I settled in with a hot dog and pretzel (couldn’t eat a hot dog at Friday’s game because of Lent (#CatholicMogul)) and our seats were fantastic. Sadly, once the Nets become even decent the prices will skyrocket, but it is nice to see a 6pm Game on a Sunday with a great view of the court, without having to bring crimes against humanity charges like at Madison Square Garden. The game was competitive, I ate cheesecake (When in Rome with a Junior’s cheesecake concession stand) and the Jazz earned a quality victory, with Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert solidifying my decision to make them the next two Jazz jersey purchases in the off season, continuing the black and white Jazz tradition.
After the game I asked the Jazz for free tickets next year because the Jazz are 2-0 in 2015 when I am in attendance (#Blessed). No response so far.