Passersby can’t help but stop, and when they stop, they don’t just stare, they take their sweet time.
You have to when you stumble upon something as random and meticulously planned out as what sits on the corner of 200 East and 300 South in downtown Salt Lake City. It’s an ode to the Utah Jazz, both past and present. Ahead of Monday night’s Game 4 inside Vivint Smart Home Arena, a shrine has been constructed up against the brick of The Green Ant, a furniture store, on Broadway.
Inside the gold cabinet is, well, everything Jazz.
Center stage sits a framed photo of Joe Ingles flashing a thumbs up. It’s accompanied by old shots of Karl Malone, John Stockton, Jerry Sloan and Darrell Griffith. There are Junior Jazz jerseys hanging on the gold cabinet and around an angel leaning against the brick. An old worn basketball sits in a straw basket, so it won’t be blown down the street.
There’s a dated photo of former Utah Jazz owner, the late Larry H. Miller.
The shrine is accompanied by several votive candles, various colored flowers and Jazz stickers.
On Monday morning, the shrine hit the social media world as folks returned to work, still flying high after Saturday’s Game 3 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Which begs these still-unanswered questions: Who made it? And why?
One thing’s for certain: It has been up for a few days. And it was started by someone rooted in Jazz history. Ken Sanders of Ken Sanders Rare Books said it was there right next to his building when he showed up to work Saturday morning. It has slowly been added to over the last few days. Fans have added T-shirts, drinking cups from the arena as well as a throwback XXL jersey that now lays beneath a series of vases holding flowers.
Adam Bateman said he stumbled upon the piece around 1 a.m. Saturday morning. It was then that he and some friends decided to go to a dollar store nearby to buy flowers to start their series of contributions to the shrine. They made sure the flowers matched the theme of the 2017-2018 Nike City jerseys, so the flowers were appropriately red, orange and yellow.
“It’s this spontaneous, community thing that’s just about belief in our team,” said Bateman, a local artist and curator, who is also a lifelong Jazz fan. “Compared to what it is now, it’s grown a lot.”
A Jazz fan on the way to work found out about the shrine on Reddit Monday, so he packed with him two tickets from a game he went to in March when the Jazz beat the Sacramento Kings at home. He dropped them off in another straw basket filled with coins and other random trinkets. For good luck, he said.
Written on the yellow blanket in black marker reads: “Go Jazz! Positive vibes.”
Beneath it a hashtag: “#JAZZVOODOO.”
The depths of Jazz Twitter might be in search of who created this shrine and why, but for now, it might be best to just waltz by, and let the mystery be.