SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – With the NBA All-Star Game set to return to Utah for the first time in 30 years next month, former Jazz All-Stars Deron Williams, Mehmet Okur and Len “Truck” Robinson were in town, and they say it is great Salt Lake City gets to host again.
“I think it means a lot,” said Williams, a 3-time NBA All-Star. “There’s just always a lot of excitement around the all-star break and All-Star Game. I feel like Salt Lake has changed a lot, the cityscape, the landscape, the liquor laws, things that are going to make it a more enjoyable experience.”
Okur made the all-star game once back in 2007, and he’ll always look back at it as a highlight of his career.
“Just being there was my favorite part,” Okur said. “It was fun, and just to share the locker room with all those superstars.”
Truck Robinson, who played for the New Orleans Jazz, made the All-Star Game twice. So what’s the biggest difference between then and now?
“It was a lot more competitive,” Robinson said with a laugh. “Guys didn’t easily let you score, and they were playing against you trying to win. It was a big thing trying to win.”
Back in 1993, John Stockton and Karl Malone won co-MVP honors at the All-Star Game in Salt Lake City. Does Lauri Markkanen deserve to represent the team this year?
“I feel like they’ve got to put him in,” Williams said. “Somebody from the Jazz has to be on the team with them being in the host city. But also, he’s having a hell of a year. I feel like he deserves a shot, and hopefully the coaches put him in.”
Back in the day, Williams and Okur were really good three-point shooters, but they really wish they could play in today’s game when teams are shooting record numbers of threes.
“We had the green light back then,” Williams said. “But this is a different type of green light. This is like neon green. Coach Sloan didn’t like early threes, and now that’s all that guys take, and they’re encouraged to take.”