SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – As exciting as the Utah Jazz were on the court this season as they racked up 50 wins and the fifth seed in the Western Conference, they made just as many headlines off the court.
Whether it was Donovan Mitchell giving some kids the thrill of their lives by handing out shoes before every game, or Ekpe Udoh’s book club exploding to a level where Michelle Obama tweeted at them, the Jazz were constantly in the spotlight locally.
But nationally, the story that had biggest impact was Kyle Korver’s article he published in the Player’s Tribune titled “Privileged” about racism in the NBA and across America.
That piece sparked a national conversation, especially when two fans were banned for life for making racist remarks at game, prompting Jazz owner Gail Miller to make this statement before the March 14th game against Phoenix.
“I am extremely disappointed that one of our quote fans conducted himself in such a way as a fan not only to a guest in our arena, but also me personally, my family,” Miller said. “No one wins when respect goes away.”
Korver’s article came out a few weeks later addressing the issue of race.
“Sometimes things get put on your heart and you feel like you’re supposed to say them,” Korver said last week as the Jazz conducted their exit interviews. “The Players Tribune piece is something that I’d been working on for probably about a year. Then it seemed like things kept lining up where it felt like this was supposed to happen.”
Another big issue that a Jazz player brought to light was Joe Ingles and his wife Renae disclosing just before the All-Star break that their son Jacob had been diagnosed with autism
“I think the whole year for me really was tough with the stuff with Jacob,” Ingles said. “Nothing, as silly as it sounds, nothing else really mattered. It was by far the toughest year of my career in terms of that stuff.”
On autism awareness night March 28th, the Jazz donated 1.2 million dollars to the cause, and Ingles almost recoreded his first career triple-double.
“I’m glad it came out the way it did and got taken by everyone and all you guys and everyone the way it did,” Ingles said.
On and off the court, it was quite a season for the Utah Jazz.