Gordon Monson: Stop what you’re doing and take a minute to feel good, real good, about the Utah Jazz

The team is awarding full-ride college scholarships to students from underrepresented Utah communities. Check out their video reactions as Jazz players tell them what they’ve earned. It’s a salve for the soul.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. The Jazz have begun awarding full-ride college scholarships to students from underrepresented Utah communities. The kids' reactions to hearing the news is priceless in a video put together by the team.

Some things these days banging around out there on the internet are hard to watch.

Some make you sad, some make you mad, some make you cry, some make you wonder what’s wrong with the human race.

Some things, though, are easy on the eyes and on the heart.

The video the Utah Jazz put out on Wednesday featuring Jazz players informing young Utahns from underserved backgrounds that they had won from the team complete full-ride scholarships to an instate college of their choice was …


I watched it five times because it was like healing balm to the soul and, yeah, it got a little dusty in here.

Apparently, a whole lot of other people watched it as well, and the dust flew in and around their eyes, too, as it went viral and gained praise from corners all over the world.

My soul. Your soul. Every soul.

Anybody who could find fault in the sweet gesture by the Jazz, providing transformative scholarships to aspiring students from ethnically diverse groups, one for each win the team collects this season, including the preseason, the regular season and the postseason, has need to search their own soul.

As wonderful as the scholarships are, and they are exactly that, a truly magnanimous gesture by Ryan Smith and his organization, offering an opportunity to change the lives of each recipient, the fact that the news was delivered to the winners by Jazz players made the opportunity even sweeter.

“I had to call and let you know,” Donovan Mitchell told a shocked and exuberant student. “I wanted to be the first to congratulate you.”

“I’m glad you’re excited,” Joe Ingles told another. “You should be. You deserve it.”

“I’m proud of you,” said Mike Conley on another call. “I’m rooting for you.”

“The sky is the limit,” Georges Niang told a young celebrant. “Keep soaring. Keep being you and keep striving for greatness.”

“It’s all yours,” said Jordan Clarkson. “Congratulations. … Yeah, OK.”

Royce O’Neale: “You’ve been chosen to receive the Utah Jazz scholarship.”

Rudy Gobert made happy calls. Derrick Favors made happy calls.

Grins, all around.

And they were received by young people with surprise, screams, wonder, an occasional, “You’re lying,” and what seemed like a thousand, “Thank you’s.”

Indeed. There are times when there’s a lot of negative in and around us, inside and out of sports.

News of athletes, like people in other walks of life, being rude, being entitled, being self-absorbed, being out of touch, being unethical, being violent, being … jerks.

But sports are filled with a whole lot of good, too. Goodness.

The looks on the faces of the scholarship winners were filled with excitement and gratitude, as might be expected. But the authentic expressions on the faces of the players issuing the news also revealed much about them.

Sincerity. Happiness. Pleasure. Charm. Pride. Laughter. Perspective.

The Jazz, those paying the freight and those reaching out to the young students, deserve all kinds of praise for this. And they’re getting it.

If there are cynics who say it’s all a publicity stunt, it’s so suckers like me will write about it and suckers like you will feel like the Jazz are contributing to the community, but that one way or another the Jazz are actually looking to get gain out of this deal, they should try telling that to the eager, diligent students who have just had a chance of a lifetime for a blessed education and all the opportunities that could present in the years ahead extended to them.

Watch the video.

Watch it again.

And again.

And realize that there is good news in the world. There are good people. There is goodness.

And the Utah Jazz, the team you might root for, or maybe not, are a part of what’s right with the human race.

GORDON MONSON hosts “The Big Show” with Jake Scott weekdays from 2-7 p.m. on 97.5 FM and 1280 AM The Zone, which is owned by the parent company that owns the Utah Jazz.