“What do you think of it,” asked the caller. “Isn’t it heresy? And, if not, what would Miller rename the pro basketball team? We need your wisdom, Mr. Cyclops.”
“Calm down,” I said. “The Millers don’t do anything rash – except buy the once money-losing team in the first place. But the idea of selling the Jazz name for $25 million has some advantages.”
“In the first place, the Jazz name really never fit the culture. Jazz is linked to Bourbon Street, not South Temple. When Utahns think of “the Duke,” they claim John Wayne, not Duke Ellington. Utah is a hotbed of church choirs, not saxophones.
“And the $25 million would come in handy. For a five-year period, the Millers could reduce the price of each season ticket by $6.60 or blow it all on a short-term free agent contract.”
“But what would we replace the nickname with?” he asked.
“Well, the obvious answer is to negotiate with the new owner of the New Orleans franchise. He also owns the NFL New Orleans Saints. The term Saints more commonly refers to the LDS population than it does to the drunks in New Orleans, so maybe we could work out a trade.
Then the song ‘When the Saints Come Marching In’ could be the theme song of the semi-annual LDS General Conference as well as the introduction of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap.”
“You’re crazy. New Orleans would never give up the Saints name.”
“You are probably right. Then we could go to our back-up name: Utah Pioneers?”
“It fits into Utah’s history,” he admitted. “But pioneers are associated with slogging through muddy streams and pushing handcarts up hills, not pushing the ball down court. The name lacks energy.”
“Then we could call them the Utah Seagulls.”
“But pioneers and seagulls are too linked to a particular religion,” he said. “We need to be more diverse.”
“Okay,” I said. “How about the Utah Constitutionalists? That would please the Republicans. Or the Utah Hives?”
“No, people would think hives is a skin disease, not a home for honeybees.”
“We lead the country in candy consumption. How about the Utah Taffy? Our ski industry would support the Utah Snow or the Utah Slopes. Let’s help the Davis County Visitor’s Bureau with the Utah Brine Flies. And since we continue to be last in per pupil spending on education, we could be the Utah Backsliders.”
“No, Mr. Cyclops. The Millers need to turn their back on the money and keep the name. We’ll let America know that in Utah, money isn’t everything.”
“Tell that to a lobbyist,” I said. “But you’re probably right. In a state known primarily for green Jello and a lack of liquor licenses, maybe the Jazz isn’t a bad name after all.”
The opinions expressed in this column are those of the writer and not necessarily of the ownership or management of this newspaper.