Saturday, March 3, 2007

Utah Jazz: Old School Basketball

My first encounter with basketball was way back in 1998. There used to be NBA games aired really early in the morning on a saturday, and being a kiddy then and not lazy, I was happy to wake up early to watch it while having my breakfast. The first game I can remember with any sort of clarity was one of the games in the 1998 Finals between the Utah Jazz and the Chicago Bulls, I saw the way the two teams played and their unique styles and chose the guys in white (Jazz) as my favourite team, even though they went on to lose, because they played as a team. (unlike Jordan and his INVISI-bulls)
After that I learned all about the Jazz and came to love them, and although they didn’t have the best/strongest/quickest players, they played so well together as a team it truly was sickening. Stockton, Hornacek, Russell, Malone and …..Ostertag (howd he make it to the NBA?) were a bunch of players that knew the way they played inside out, and it made for some truly amazing moments of team basketball.

“Stockton to Malone”
a phrase used more than any other when talking about the Jazz. John Stockton and Karl Malone typified how the Jazz played,(and have since been honoured with statues outside the Jazz homecourt) nothing fancy, just get the job done, they were the old school, and a dying breed at that. They found something that worked, the pick and roll, and used it, over and over and over and over and over again.
They formed a memorable partnership feared throughtout the league well into their later years.
As I watched the recent NBA allstar game I realised how much things had changed from the days when I started watching bball. Players were jogging up and down the court, throwing up junk and messing about. Whereas if we look back at the Jazz in the late 90s, most of their starters were tattered old men, held together by various strappings, but won games because they identified their strengths, worked as a team, but above all had the PRIDE to push themselves.

Basketball is missing all the above today, with the few exceptions, I think its high time the old school made a return, but it will require a shift in attitudes, from and1 to good basketball.

1 comment:

Matt said...

ooh, im sure i could start a good argument here