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Utah Jazz: 33 years later, the voice of the Jazz keeps rolling along
NBA » Dan Roberts has been at the PA microphone for Utah since ‘79 — club’s first year in SLC

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"It was against Denver and one of their guys got called for a foul," Roberts remembers. "I said, ‘Oddly enough, the foul is called on whatever the guy’s name was.’ Ed came over and said, ‘We don’t need that kind of crap from you.’ "

Roberts was born in Ely, Nev. But his father, who was a doctor, almost immediately moved his family to Salt Lake City so he could join the staff of the old Veterans Administration Hospital.

At a glance

A closer look

» Dan Roberts has been the Jazz’s arena announcer since the franchise moved to Utah in 1979.

» Roberts estimates he has worked approximately 1,600 preseason, regular season and playoff games.

» Roberts’ day job? He has owned Dan Roberts Kitchen and Bath since the 1970s.

Jazz at L.A. Clippers

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Roberts attended Skyline High School and enrolled at the University of Utah, where he played football for one year.

"I got clobbered," he said.

Roberts married and started a family while attending Utah. He did not graduate because, after his wife became pregnant, he needed to find a job.

"Like they said in the movie [‘Animal House’]," Roberts laughed, "seven years of college down the drain."

While working part-time at KALL radio, Roberts got to know Grant Nielsen, who was the arena announcer for the Utah Stars of the old American Basketball Association.

One day in 1971 — after the Stars won the ABA championship — Nielsen told Roberts he was taking a job in Seattle.

Roberts "nominated myself" as Nielsen’s replacement with the Stars and, after auditioning with "15 or 20" others, he was hired by general manager Vince Boryla.

Roberts stayed with the Stars until they folded early in the 1975-76 season, but he stayed involved in basketball by taking a non-paying job at the University of Utah.

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It was worth it.

Roberts worked the 1979 Final Four and was a front-row witness to an epic championship game: Magic Johnson and Michigan State defeated Larry Bird and Indiana State.

"I got $200 for those two days" from the NCAA, Roberts said. "But I got to be part of history."

Six weeks later, the NBA approved the Jazz’s move from New Orleans to Utah. Roberts was back in business, getting the job over a handful of other applicants.

"Dan will be here until he drops," Harrison said. "Seriously, he will. ... There’s nobody else that I have seen or heard that I would rather have sitting in that chair.

"He’s very easy to work with and he doesn’t get rattled. ... He hasn’t got that ego that takes over and it becomes all about him."

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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