10 Most Bizarre Moments in Utah Jazz History

Matt JonesAnalyst IAugust 1, 2011

10 Most Bizarre Moments in Utah Jazz History

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    Every NBA and sports team has a history. Many of us can talk about the players drafted, games played, big moments and championships won.

    We can talk about statistics, coaching changes and the games that we saw in person that changed the franchise.

    Fans often reminisce about the big shot, the dropped pass or the one chance that got away.

    What we sometimes forget is that teams also have a history of events off the court as well. 

    While this could include the draft or the what the players and coaches do in the off-season, it can also include some of the strange things that happen outside of the game.

    The Utah Jazz are not different from other teams. They have had their share of off-court distractions. While they may not be as frequent or as serious as other teams in sports, here is a list of 10 of the more bizarre moments in the history of the team.

    If you have any to add, please let me know.

    Chris Johstoneaux is a Featured Columnist on Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @JazzRSLExaminer.

Jazz Bear Fights a Cleveland Cavalier Fan

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    If you have been to a Utah Jazz game at the Energy Solutions arena, you are well aware of the antics of the team's mascot, Bear.

    Over the years he has tried just about everything from riding around on a Harley to jumping through a ring of fire to dunk the ball.

    In the middle of last season, the Bear really outdid himself.

    Watch as one of his routine pranks goes a little farther than spraying fans with silly string or dumping popcorn over a kid's head.

    Whether it is a real fight or if the whole thing was an act, it is a pretty good mid-court tackle by the Bear.

Dead Rat Interrupts a Free Throw

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    During a normal, regular season home game on Dec. 28, 2002, Jazz Hall of Famer Karl Malone lined up to take a free throw late in the first half.

    As he bounced the ball to start his routine, a dead rat that was thrown from the crowd landed at his feet.

    Instead of shooting, he took a step back wondering what was going on.

    Being a good teammate, Scott Padgett kicked the rodent off the court where it was picked up and removed from the court.

    The Jazz ended up winning the game 98-69. Padgett scored 10 points and got a big assist that did not end up in the box score.

Andrei Kirilenko Gets a Free Pass from Marriage

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    Before Kirilenko made headlines for the huge tattoo that he recently got on his back, he fell into the category of weird news for something else.

    A few seasons ago, Russian pop star and Kirilenko's wife Masha told ESPN the magazine that she allows him to have sex outside of their marriage once a season.

    She says she understands that "Male athletes in this country are extremely attractive," she says. "They get chased by women. It's hard to resist. It's the way men are by nature."

    She does not see this one time per season as an affair, just something nice she can do for her husband. She goes on to say, "If I know about it, it's not cheating."

    There is no evidence that Andrei has actually cashed in on his free pass or not, but it does make you wonder if she has the same yearly pass as well.

    Either way it makes for an interesting twist to a marriage, especially while living in the conservative state of Utah.

Dancing Fan Tries to Keep Up with the Cheerleaders

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    I wish that I was talking about a cute little girl who wants to be a Jazz Dancer someday.

    Instead, I found this guy.

    I am really not sure what to say about him; he really speaks for himself.

Deron Williams Lies to Police After a Bar Fight

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    A couple of months after both players started their rookie seasons in 2005, Deron Williams and Robert Whaley were involved in a bar fight in Park City.

    The two apparently got into an argument that got out of hand with Denver Nuggets fans who recognized the pair.

    When the police arrived, "Torry Ellis" (Williams) and "Bobby Williams" (Whaley) as the two identified themselves to police, were released after the police officer identified them from the Jazz website.

    Both players were charged with a Class C Misdemeanor for lying to police and fined and suspended for one game each.

    Whaley did not spend much more time with the team, and Williams was traded in the middle of last season.

Jazz Play Home Games in Vegas

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    The NBA has wanted to play in Las Vegas for a long time, and takes every chance they get to be there. Over the years, they have had pre-season games, the All-Star game, and Team USA exhibition in there.

    In the early '80s the Utah Jazz, looking for any way to generate money and stay viable as a team, agreed to play 13 home games at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, over 400 miles away.

    This was the idea of then-owner Sam Battistone, who was convinced that the team would be more successful in Vegas.

    For a variety of reasons, the move did not work out well for the team or for Battistone, who sold the team not long after.

    The Jazz did well in in Las Vegas and posted a winning record of 7-6.

Karl Malone Gets into the Wrestling Ring with the Hulkster

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    After the Karl Malone and the Jazz lost to the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Finals, Karl Malone found a way to try get some revenge.

    Malone, known for his size and physical play, took a shot at wrestling in WCW. He didn't get to start out with some simple matches with unknown guys, he went straight to the top and took on wrestling legend Hulk Hogan.

    Malone who was tag team partners with Diamond Dallas Page, took on Hogan and NBA bad boy Dennis Rodman.

    Malone did well overall and got the chance to throw Rodman around the ring.

    In the end, of course Rodman cheated and he and Hogan got the victory.

    While I do expect that kind of behavior from Rodman, I was surprised that Hogan would agree to doing that.

    It really made me wonder if I could still be a Hulkamaniac.

Carlos Boozer Sues Prince for Painting His House

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    In the early part of 2006, it was reported that Utah Jazz power forward Carlos Boozer sued the tenant of a home that he owned in West Hollywood for painting it purple.

    Prince, who rented the home from Boozer for $70,000 per month, upset Boozer when he painted purple stripes inside, and the number and album title 3121 and the symbol that he has been known by on the outside of the home.

    Jazz fans know that Boozer is always willing to collect money and not willing to put up a good fight.

    The suit was dismissed after lawyers for Prince argued that Boozer collected the rent money with no problem before bringing up the lawsuit.

    The matter was dismissed a short time later.

Expensive Punch Served at the New Year's Party

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    During a New Year's party in the early hours of 1989, Jazz fifth-round pick Bart Kofoed and starting guard Bobby Hansen got into a fight.

    Kofoed, known for being a tough player, broke the cheekbone of Hansen, who missed the next month of the season.

    According to Steve Luhm of the Salt Lake Tribune, following the incident then-general manager Dave Checketts cited a "...clause in his contract that requires him to act in good citizenship and good sportsmanship. For violation of that clause, we're going to terminate his contract because he struck one of his teammates and caused significant damage and damaged the team."

    Kofoed was released from the team two days after the incident.

The New Orleans Jazz Draft a Woman

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    Long before Natalie Williams, Margo Dydek, and Jennifer Azzi played in the WNBA for the Utah Starzz, the Jazz organization tried to have a woman enter the league.

    In the 1977 NBA Draft, they selected Lusia Harris from with the 137th overall selection. Harris, who had a standout career at Delta State, has the distinction of being one of the only woman ever drafted to play in the NBA.

    Harris never expressed interest in playing in the league and declined an invitation to try out for the Jazz.

    Had she wanted to play in the league, she may have played with Gail Goodrich, and Pete Maravich. She would have played on the team that is in the video clip above.

    For her strong career and accomplishments, Harris was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992.


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