Be My Guest to Experience 14 Things I Love about Utah Jazz Games

I have a confession: I’m not actually much of a sports fan. I don’t follow college sports, I couldn’t tell you who won last year’s World Series, and if it the Internet wasn’t abuzz with the fact that the two teams going to the Superbowl are from cities where marijuana’s legal, I probably wouldn’t know who they were. But when your parents own a professional basketball team, it’s impossible not to be a fan.

Sometimes, and especially after a particularly close loss, I’ll wake up the next morning and my first thought is, “Dang! I can’t believe the Jazz lost last night.”

But win or lose, there are many things I love about Jazz games at the EnergySolutions Arena. Like and comment on this post on Facebook by sharing your favorite thing about the Jazz and I’ll enter your name into a drawing to attend a game as my guest. If we’re not already Facebook friends, you can find me here. The winner will receive two courtside tickets to a game this season, dinner in the Lexus Club and VIP parking. In other words, you’ll experience the game as I do.

I recognize that I’m extraordinarily blessed. It’s my privilege to share this experience with you in writing, and I look forward to sharing it with the winning reader in person.

Here are 14 things I love about Jazz games, in no particular order:

  • The Food

The team behind the foodservice at the Arena is incredible, which explains why the food is amazing. I eat in a dining room reserved exclusively for Lexus Courtside Club members that has its own chef, bartenders and wait staff. The food is healthy, delicious and presented beautifully. I don’t eat many meals outside of the Arena that I enjoy as much. There’s even a sundae bar at halftime.

  • The Bear

Furry, fearless, daring, and eminently entertaining, the Bear’s a true superhero. I could watch 48 minutes of his antics. I love his dramatic entrance on a Harley and watching him barrel down the entire length of the lower bowl’s stairs on a plastic sled. But most of all, I appreciate the pre-game hug he makes a point to give me.

  • Sitting Courtside

I feel a breeze when the players run by. I’m close enough to read their tattoos, hear them call plays and talk to each other, and see their sweat fall when they inbound the ball. Players and referees occasionally respond to my questions or comments. I often think of Jay-Z’s line in Empire State of Mind, “I could trip a referee,” but of course I’m always on good behavior. I want to like to keep my seats.

  • The Fans

I love to see so many people at the games having a great time, and my experience is enhanced by knowing that my mom and dad took a huge risk to keep the team in Utah to make this possible. I particularly enjoy seeing and interacting with many of the fans who have been attending as long as I can remember.

  • The Staff

There are a number of employees who have been with us for more than twenty years. They feel like family, and I’m always glad to see them. I have known many of them since I was eight years old, which was when my parents bought the team.

  • The Promotions

The Jazz promotions team dreams up a ton of fun, creative and entertaining ways to help promote marketing partners during timeouts and quarter breaks. I never tire of watching the Bear-as-bowling ball slingshot across the floor to slam into oversized Coke Zero bottles in an insane version of bowling.

  • The Parking

I’m fortunate to park in the back lot where the players park. My spot is twelve steps from the door to the building. It’s especially nice when it snows. Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference.

  • Ticket Back Offers

A few Jazz marketing partners place promotional offers on the backs of tickets. My favorite is the Scheels offer for a quarter pound of fudge for each ticket stub. I’ll sometimes walk around after games to pick up tickets that have been left on the ground. The fans who leave those obviously don’t know what they’re missing. Their loss is my (weight) gain.

  • The National Anthem

A branch of the US armed forces presents a color guard at center court before tipoff. It’s accompanied by an artist performing the Star Spangled Banner. I appreciate the beautiful ceremony and the opportunity it provides to pause and reflect on our blessings and freedoms as Americans.

  • The Energy

When you think about it, it really is amazing to be in an arena— a building built for the purpose of competition. Under the bright lights and up close the players seem like giants. There aren’t many opportunities in most of our lives to experience this sort of intensity. And it’s one of life’s great joys to experience the electricity of playoff energy, and especially the Finals. There’s nothing like it.

  • The Players

It’s always a privilege to watch those who are the best in the world perform whatever it is they do. NBA players are some of the best athletes in the world. They are so quick and so strong. I also appreciate the opportunity to see them up close and as “real human beings.”

  • Player Introduction

I love when the lights go down and the Jazz are introduced. A dynamic, dramatic video showcases each player, and I enjoy it every time I watch it. I also love seeing the players bounce up and down in anticipation of the start of the game. They have the exuberance of children, and I know exactly how they feel.

  • Close Games

I love the thrill of close games. I enjoy knowing that the outcome could be decided by a random bounce, a last-minute drive or a lucky tip. In those moments I always wish I was playing instead of merely spectating.

  • Winning

It’s true that “you can’t win ‘em all,” but I just love the confetti and streamers that shoot from the rafters when the Jazz win. I’m particularly glad for the players after each win, and I imagine each victory as a bit of payoff for countless hours spent in the gym or at practice.

I’m also happy for the coaching staff, because I have some idea of the endless hours of video they watch and the stats and games they analyze. I know it matters to the trainers, doctors, chiropractors, equipment people and ballboys. And to all the front office staff, and of course, the fans. And I know that everybody on the team spends a lot of time on airplanes, motorcoaches and in hotel rooms.

I’m very grateful to be in a position close to the Jazz that allows me to experience all of these things on a regular basis. I also appreciate you reading my blog, and I look forward to reading your comments regarding what you love about the Jazz. I will select and notify the winner by Friday, January 31st at 5pm MST.

May every ball bounce your way.

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239 thoughts on “Be My Guest to Experience 14 Things I Love about Utah Jazz Games

  1. My favorite part of a Jazz game is watching my kids get into the game. They act coy and like it’s no big deal. Then the game starts and they get into it. They yell, cheer, boo, and shout with the ebbs and tides of the game. They always walk away excited and thrilled with having been there. They love to win! But we have never walked away from a game when the didn’t have a great time.

  2. Brodie hunsaker says:

    Been A Fan Since The 80’s When I Was Around 6 Or 7 Love The Jazz And I Enjoy HavIng Date Nights With My Girlfriend At The Games

  3. Tim says:

    I went to my first game in 1989 with my jr jazz team, we traveled nearly two hours to get there and then two hours home….it was worth it. Now I live much closer, but can’t go to as many games as I’d like. But when I am able I look at the kids and wonder who is seeing their first jazz game tonight?

    When I go to games I love the atmosphere, the lights, the noise, and the smell of popcorn. And the staff at ESA is amazing, I wonder how those lucky folks are always smiling, then I realize that they have to “work” at the Jazz game. I’d smile too if I got to experience the Jazz 44 times a year.

  4. Dustin Heath says:

    It looks like I can’t comment on your Facebook page you add me as a friend. That being said, I can’t hold back telling my favorite things about being at a Jazz game.
    1. Environment: Whether I am in the highest seat in the upper bowl or the 12th row of the lower bowl (the closest I have ever been).
    2. Family: My daughter and brother are the two people who love to attend games with me. I cannot describe the kind of bonds we develop when enjoying a game together.
    3. Autographs: The look in my daughter’s eyes when she came face to face with Trey Burke this year was priceless. I don’t care what it takes, having that moment is worth the wait, even if we have to catch players in their cars as they drive out of the arena.

    My only regret is that I don’t get to see more games.

  5. Sonja Love says:

    I love 3 things about going to see the Jazz play; the food, the halftime show, and, of course, the players. It’s one thing to watch at the top of the bleachers with a set of binoculars…but to see the game courtside?? Brian is right, you DON’T have to be a fan to enjoy that! I would love to see all the action up close!

  6. David King says:

    My wife and I have been fans for years. We were season ticket holders for a while until the number of games just became too overwhelming. We still try to get out to as many games as we can. We support our team through thick and thin. We have talked about sitting courtside someday but it’s very price prohibitive. We would love it if we were selected for this great opportunity!

  7. I envy the situation in which you find yourself. I’m a fan of Jazz 30 years or so ago and my dream is to go and see in the ESA at some time. I’m from Uruguay, South America, and not only in Latin America but also in Spain we are many Jazz fans and exchange views on twitter, facebook and forums Jazz. Years ago I see every game (without losing any) by League Pass. A hug for us and continues to enjoy. Hannibal.

  8. The Utah Jazz are who I am.
    I remember learning the rules of basketball by watching Mark Eaton and Jeff Malone on the old black and white TV in our kitchen.
    I remember December 28th, 1993, Grandpa taking me to my first game ever, munching away at a personal pizza while watching the Jazz beat Boston 102-93.
    I remember the hardest I ever cried was being grounded and my sister getting to go watch the Jazz smash Dallas when I was six. I ended listening to the game while playing Candy Land with my Mom. Blargh.
    I remember getting sent to bed during Game 6 of the 1997 Conference Finals, and still listening to Hot Rod on the little radio under my pillow until we got within two, at which point I couldn’t stand it anymore and busted out of my room to watch The Shot.
    I remember Game 4 the next week, standing in Section VV throughout the game and almost passing out from screaming after John threw The Pass.
    I have been through many breakups in my life, and none of them have been as bad as getting the Title ripped away. Twice.
    I remember meeting Shandon Anderson, just days after the 1998 Finals. I happened to have his trading card in the car and he happened to walk into the rental store to get a moving van. My Mom was excited that I got to meet one of my favorite players, but I couldn’t even smile, it still hurt. I don’t think Shandon smiled either.
    Even after living in China for 16 months, I could still get up at nine in the morning, flip on my laptop, and find some random sports streaming website that probably gave my computer 4,832 viruses, but it’s all good, because watching Mo hit that shot to beat San Antonio was well worth pissing off the neighbors with my screaming.
    I think thousands and thousands of people around the State of Utah can agree, no matter what our religious beliefs, our socioeconomic standing, our professions, or our political leanings, the Jazz are always something that we can come back to unite us. I know for a fact that’s how I feel. So many memories from my childhood can be traced back to this team, and it’s not going to come full circle until we get that trophy.

    GO JAZZ!

    • Mitch-
      Holy cow! That was awesome. A true Jazz fan. Your words really resonate with me and I really appreciate you sharing them. Many good times, and many more to come. Thanks for reading and sharing. Go Jazz!
      -b

  9. Drew Thomas says:

    There is nothing better than the relationships you make with complete strangers. For the most part you have at least one thing in common and that is the desire for the Jazz to win that game. Thats my favorite thing is that you make friends really fast with complete strangers.

    P.S. is this where I post to enter?

  10. Pingback: Humility, Astonishment and an Invitation to Grow | Intelligence and Energy

  11. It would be an amazing thing to experience your 14 things, Bryan.

    My family and I are first-year season ticket holders, and we’ve been very much impressed by the level of professionalism that the ushers (and all other staff) have shown us.

    The lady that mans the portal the players come out of was absolutely fantastic when my kids wanted to get some autographs — she would call out to the players and have them come over to sign, directing them to my kids (and the players were more than happy to do so). We were so impressed that she was so willing to help make the experience everything it could be for our kids that we even sent in a letter to the Jazz thanking her for her great attitude and help.

    Having grown up as a Jazz fan, it’s been an amazing experience to have it come full circle: now I can call myself a season ticket holder and support the team I’ve loved for 30+ years. Without a doubt, that’s my favorite thing.

    • Adam-
      That is so cool. Thank you for taking the time to share. I know you’re a true Jazz fan and I’m so glad that you decided to become a season ticket holder this year. Thanks for reading. Go Jazz!
      -b

  12. Spending time with my family at ESA rooting on the Jazz is one of the best experiences I have had. We love coming home with hoarse throats and buzzing with energy from win. Every game we have been to, they have luckily won. The commradre everyone has for each other in the arena is wonderful. ❤

  13. Sean Henderson says:

    I’ve liked the Jazz simply because they are my home state team but this reply is not for me. I would like to be entered into the drawing and if I were chosen I’d give up the spot to The biggest Jazz fan I’ve ever known since high school, Maren Hazen Baumgartner. Now married with little Jazz fans of her own, she is not only still the biggest fan, but the ultimate weapon in mothering future eat/sleep/dream Jazz-fans! Go get Em Maren!

  14. Blake Lyman says:

    I was a season ticket holder last year and didn’t miss a game! I love all sports but nothing compares to supporting our local teams! I recently had a beautiful little girl named Zoey so I’ve only been able to sneak out to one Jazz game this year. I love the atmosphere of the fans and the game itself. Please enter me in your drawing I would love to opertunity to meet you as well as experience the other venues available at Energy Solutions Arena! Thank you!

  15. ctporter says:

    I love going to Jazz games for a lot of reasons- I love watching basketball, and the energy at the arena is unbeatable. It’s really fun sharing the experience with my wife and 16,000+- but I think what I love most is going to support my favorite team, but it goes deeper than that. The Jazz aren’t just my favorite team because I live in Utah, but because in a world of egotistical athletes that are embarrassing, it’s really refreshing how the Jazz run their organization, and how Jerry Sloan coached his teams was how I think all managers should manage things. No nonsense, no extra crap, just show up, clock in, work your butt off and do your best. It won’t matter if you aren’t the best player ever- if you show up and buy in, you will succeed. Just like any other job- you show up, tuck your shirt in and get your hands dirty you’re going to succeed. It’s easy to love a team that embodies this and that’s why no matter what, I will always love the Jazz and going to their games to cheer them on.

  16. Naima says:

    My favorite thing about the Jazz is family. This year, as I do every year, I was putting together my year-in-pictures calendar that I give to my mom as a present every Christmas. From the preseason in late October/early November all the way through spring, my album was full of photos of my family and I sharing wonderful, unforgettable moments together at what we lovingly call the-House-That-Larry-Built, or Larry’s House for short. We love going to games and spreading cheer to everyone around us. Our fellow fans have become our family as well. We miss being part of the Utah Jazz Rowdies, but have taken it upon ourselves to be unofficial Rowdies at every game.

    In short, thanks for all of the memories and wonderful moments we have had as a family. We wish you the same for years and generations to come.

  17. Naima says:

    Here’s my top 14 moments as well:
    14. Being selected to be a UTAH JAZZ ROWDY with my sister and husband. What an incredible, unforgettable experience. Our throats still hurt from cheering.
    13. Watching the finals games out on the plaza on big screens.
    12. Being in Japan and wearing my Utah Jazz jerseys as we fought our way into the finals. I’ll never forget being in a sports bar and cheering GO-JAZZ-GO!
    11. I caught a Sprite ball, ONCE. It was amazing. My lack of coordination makes this a true miracle and highlight in my life.
    10. The hilarious Utah Jazz fashion shows featuring the players. It was a great laugh to see them look so uncomfortable on the catwalk.
    9. The rookie dance-offs. It’s so much fun to see the new players be silly, I look forward to it every year.
    8. The awesome season-ticket agents help set-up a birthday surprise for my husband, he was truly surprised and embarrassed.
    7. Having the Jazz Bear kidnap my sister and take her the Bear Cave. I’m only slightly jealous, she’s the biggest fan I know and deserved it.
    6. Meeting Jerry Solan, Karl Malone and Phil Johnson at the scrimmage this year and taking a family photo with them. (I’m taking the photo, so I’ll have to photoshop myself in later.)
    5. The night Larry’s signature was unveiled on the court, so emotional.
    4. Being the stadium when Fisher came onto the court during the game to help us win against Golden State.
    3. Gains 3-point game winner at the buzzer. HOLY.
    2. Waiting at the airport when the Jazz made it into the Western Finals (2008?) and having Memo & D-Will give us high-fives from their car.
    1. My mom & sister making the Utah Jazz home page with the Jerry Solan & Larry Miller penny head signs I made.

    I couldn’t help copying your list as well, entering the contest and looking through the photos brought back a lot of fun memories we wanted to share! GO JAZZ.

  18. Linda Luchetti says:

    Bryan: I appreciate how you took something of privilege and showed your appreciative, human side. It is okay to be successful and have such rewards, but you did a really nice job of letting us know that you don’t take it for granted and you don’t think you are more worthy than anyone else. I don’t want to be entered into the contest, but just wanted to let you know you did a great job with this piece! – Linda 🙂

  19. My all time favorite thing about the Jazz is the bear. One time at a game he was holding a birthday cake over the balcony and he dropped it on the people below! I could watch him for hours! He’s funny! I especially love when the 1/2 bear teams up with him! They’re always a good time. Its my goal in life to get a picture with the two of them and to sit front row at a Jazz game! Enes Kanter is my main squeeze and I grew up loving Karl Malone! I really hope you pick me!

  20. Katie Haas says:

    Hi Bryan! Thanks so much for your blog. Your post brought so many thoughts and memories to my mind. I commented with my favorite thing about Jazz games on your FB post of the log. Does that enter me in to the contest?

  21. David Horan says:

    I love the quality of players the Jazz have who go out of their way to not only bring us joy on the court, but in the community. Leadership comes from the top and it really feels like the Jazz are our team. You may bleed blue or red, but when you walk into the ESA you are part of the Jazz family. I have made some of my best friends through Jazz twitter and I hope that if I don’t win it one of them will. So if I can’t win, send Maren Baumgartner, Angie Treasure, Lauren Bytheway, or Alan Zaugg to the game because they deserve it as much as anyone.

  22. John English says:

    I’ll give you what I love about Jazz games. #JazzNation on Twitter is growing and I like being able to meet with fellow fans before/after/halftime and see what we’re like in real life and talk about how they’re doing. I love watching players who stick around and become part of the family, watch them improve and grow. I love the state pride that a major sports team brings. Thanks for doing this.

  23. Kyle Lloyd says:

    I love going to the games with my Dad. With my busy schedule it is one of the few moments that I get to spend quality time with him.

  24. Broc Jenkins says:

    Great blog post! My wife and I are avid fans from sunny St. George! We watch EVERY game on TV and record it for later when we are out of town. Our goal is to attend 2 games each season and we have already made it to one 🙂 winning some tickets would be a great chance to help us make it for #2!

    I live the Jazz team and the organization. Opportunities like this from someone in your position just validates even more my respect for the organization.

    – Broc Jenkins

  25. Cory Sinclair says:

    One of my favorite things about attending Jazz games is the environment inside the arena. I have been to a few other NBA arenas, and the atmosphere is also great, but not one I would always want to take my eight year old son to. Jazz fans are passionate, intelligent about the game, and generally respectful of those sitting near them. I have taken my son to see a few games this season and he gets so excited to see the Jazz Bear, the huge screens above the floor, and the feeling of cheering together alongside 17K other jazz fans. Thanks for the great post.

  26. Adam says:

    My favorite aspect of the jazz is the teamwork the players show. The Jazz and the spurs are the only teams I can really watch because they put the team first and don’t care for all the individual stuff that goes along with being a famous person in the NBA. I first fell in love with the this team play based on the 90’s jazz teams ran by John Stockton and coached by Jerry Sloan. Those guys didn’t care for the spotlight, they just wanted to do their job like anyone else and go home and be with their family. That family aspect of this origination is another reason I became a fan. Because of this I remain a true jazz fan to this day.

  27. Daren Nelson says:

    I am an avid Jazz fan and have been so since I was a kid. The Jazz remind me of family and is probably the main reason other than the excitement of the games that draw me in each year. One of my favorite family memories is when my wife and I were given four Jazz tickets from her boss. At the time we were poor college students and we did not have much money so needless to say we did not get to Jazz games very often. It was short notice but we invited my sister and my Grandmother to come along. We made the hour drive down to the arena and had a great time. My Grandmother was usually very reserve but she was a different person when the Jazz were playing. At the game she was yelling and screaming at the team and was having a great time. I have never heard my Grandmother swear in my whole life but she got so upset with Ostertag that she started cussing at him. Needless to say even though she is long past I cherish that memory of and am glad that the Jazz helped me with that experience. Even though I now live far away (Tennessee) I still read everything I can and try to listen to the games as often as possible. Thanks for your experiences and the opportunity to share mine.

    • Daren- That is a FANTASTIC memory- thank you for sharing it. I really appreciate you reading and commenting. I’m glad to hear that distance hasn’t diminished your passion for the Jazz at all. -b

  28. Kevin McCavanagh says:

    Brian

    Being a transplant to Utah from New York since 1989 I have seen some great basketball. I have since become a season ticket holder and also a vendor of the Utah Jazz. Both my daughters have been to many games with me as well as many friends. I have been to a number of sports venues across the country and what makes the ESA what it is is the people. With ushers like Brian in portal c, and lisa upstairs, and henry and jose , the list also includes Rich Muirbrook and Marcia in the sales office. The People make our experience the best it can be. That’s the difference between ESA and the other venues.
    Kevin

    • Kevin-

      Thank you for taking the time to list some of the great members of the support staff at ESA. It is fans like you and employees like them that make the Jazz Family so great. You’re entered into the drawing. Good luck!

      -b

  29. Rochelle Jones says:

    I hope I didn’t miss the deadline…..When I meet my now husband I wasn’t a huge Jazz fan or follower….I decided to get season tickets as his wedding present and have been a ticket holder for 3 seasons now…We always have date night now, and our son who is 10 months old has been going to games since he was 3 weeks old. Our usher knows us and treats us like family. Every year we upgrade to better seats for hubbys birthday. This year our son will turn 1 and sitting courtside would probably blow his mind. He loves the players, Bear, lil Bear and especially the Jazz Dancers!!!! I hope I didn’t miss the drawing!!! Thank you to the Miller Family for being such amazing owners, and fans as well!!

  30. I’ve loved the Jazz since for as long as I can remember. I’m one of those fans that has a bad night when they lose and I get probably a little too excited when they win. My favorite thing about the Jazz is the way we find a way to compete every single year, despite the challenges we have as a small market team and not being a major free agent destination. It is a great example of how anyone or any organization can succeed despite the obstacles if they work hard and work smart. I’m very grateful for what the team means for the state of Utah and I think the team brings a lot of people together with a common goal. That’s the beautiful thing about sports. Love my Jazz!

  31. Danny says:

    There are so many things I love about the Jazz, it is hard to name them all, and I know after I post this I will think of other things I should have said. I love watching the Jazz with my family, especially my 2 year old daughter, I have taught her to say “Go Jazz”, she doesn’t always say it at the right times, but I love it. The Jazz organization had always seemed class act to me. The way they have fought this year shows the culture around them. They are not tanking the season to get a better pick (to the dismay of some fans), but that shows that they value winning and always giving your best. Mostly though I just love watching Jazz basketball. Thanks for some great years miller family!!

    • Danny- Thanks for your comment. It’s been really fun for me to see and hear how much the Jazz have meant to so many. Glad your along on this fun, challenging and wild ride with us! -b

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