It was a stupid question, but I asked it to hammer a point.
Jazz fans, what would you rather have …
— a team that wins a title?
— a team you really like?
It was a Twitter poll, and in a matter of hours, more than 2,100 votes came in. I’ll share the results, along with some responses, in a minute.
For as long as anyone can remember, Jazz management has talked about wanting only a certain kind of character on its team, players who are good citizens, who are unselfish, who represent and connect with the community well, who are dudes who like to hang out together. A collegiate feel, is the way Dennis Lindsey, the executive vice president of basketball operations, describes it.
That’s certainly what they’ve had of late, led by — but not exclusive to — Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. The fans love these guys. They think they are their friends. Over the past three seasons, the Jazz have sold out their building, and sold a billion jerseys, as the team has made the playoffs, twice reaching the second round, and then the first.
Now, it’s become plainly evident the Jazz need more talent to contend for a title. It will be difficult enough to acquire the players needed — without limiting new additions, whoever they are, to Eagle Scouts. The Jazz need a couple of guys who might not help Grandma get across the street, but who can straight fill it up.
Championship contention is what matters. Winning it all is king. Not having players show up at your backyard barbecue. Beating Houston and Golden State is Job 1. Not getting the popular vote in Salt Lake City.
When I expressed that opinion the other day, I received some dissenting points of view. One person stated John Stockton and Karl Malone never won a title, but they are more beloved here than champions in other cities. Another said he would rather have Mitchell and Gobert and lose than have Kevin Durant and James Harden and win.
I had never thought of that. I had always believed the end all, be all in the NBA and all of pro sports was to … win.
To win championships.
Hence, the poll. I understand that being likable and winning a title are not mutually exclusive. But I wanted to discover — granted, rather unscientifically — whether Jazz fans are different in this regard.
They are not.
These are some of the responses I received:
— “A team that wins a title is a team I really like.”
— “I am so tired of hearing from the Utah Jazz FO, ‘Yes, we lost … but our guys have chemistry.' "
— “Monson, you need to retire.”
— “This is so dumb. You will like any of your favorite teams that wins a title.”
— “How is this even a question. Get me a ring.”
— “I’ve been a Jazz fan since 1984 so the answer must be a team I really like.”
— “Fans will sell their souls for winning.”
— “This is maybe the most idiotic question I’ve ever seen. The current [percentage] who didn’t pick a title should be publicly flogged.”
— “Jazz fans love [Stockton and Malone] because they won. In reality, they’re both [expletives].”
— “Gotta like ‘em, but if they win a title, I’ll love ‘em.”
— “A team you really like is sort of like the blind date with someone with a great personality. It was a fun date but amounted to nothing of substance. You date/play to win a championship.”
— “I would love to see the Jazz win a title, but if that includes a team that I can’t be proud of and enjoy, I don’t know if I’d be willing to sacrifice a team I can enjoy and respect for a title.”
— “You’re a moron for asking.”
— “I just want ONE title. One! I’m not greedy.”
— “If you win a title, you will have both.”
— “I’d like a team with James Harden, Kobe Bryant, Gordon Hayward, Deron Williams, Enes Kanter, Derek Fisher, Dennis Rodman, Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi and Kim Jong Un on it — if it would win a title.”
The poll was a landslide: 84 percent said they would take the team with a title, 16 percent said the team they really like.
No big surprise. No surprise at all.
Fans have stood by their likable teams here for the better part of four decades — with an empty championship trophy case. They’ve enjoyed the ride, and benefited from it. The basketball has been good. And it’s good now. But those fans long for what they’ve never had.
The Jazz don’t need any more good citizens. They need good or not-so-good men who can hit the 3.
GORDON MONSON hosts “The Big Show” with Jake Scott weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 97.5 FM and 1280 AM The Zone.