Last week, the Miller family made history by turning over ownership of the Utah Jazz to a Legacy Trust, ensuring it remains in Utah for generations. Reflecting on the magnitude of this announcement has brought back lots of memories and provided a profound sense of gratitude.
When the news broke 32 years ago that Larry and Gail had purchased the team to keep it in Utah, it was a defining moment in my life. This announcement and the people behind it set in motion a series of events that impacted my passions, educational pursuits and ultimately my career.
In short (if you want to read the full version, check out Bryan Miller’s “Behind the Drive: 99 Inspiring Stories from the Life of an American Entrepreneur”), I begged my grandfather to take me to the game the night the Millers purchased the team to experience the big announcement. He agreed and offered to pay for the tickets if I would write a story about it for the school newspaper. I meticulously captured every detail of the announcement and the game, including the Jazz president presenting the game ball to Larry, signifying the team had been saved.
Later that evening, my mom convinced me to call and request an interview with Larry, and to my surprise, he returned the call. He told me I was getting a “scoop,” the first one-on-one interview he had granted. Larry advised me to follow my passions and to never forget the lesson of being courageous enough to ask.
All these years later, I recently had the opportunity to hold the same game ball that was presented to Larry that night—a relic of an important memory I had captured in my story. As I carefully rotated the ball reading the signatures of the 1984-85 team, a flood of memories and emotions came over me. While it is difficult to adequately communicate these feelings, my gratitude to the Miller family then and now cannot be understated.
Not only has my life been enriched by Larry’s kind act to me personally, I have also enjoyed countless memories watching, listening and attending Jazz games with my late grandfather, my father and now my children. I’m grateful the Legacy Trust ensures this grand tradition will also continue with my future grandchildren and great grandchildren.
On the day the trust was announced, I decided it was only fitting that my children experience the game that night. While they don’t fully grasp the significance of the announcement and are not quite old enough to write an article, they too had a sense of gratitude.
In getting ready for the game, my eight-year-old, Carter, asked his mom to help him make a sign. He dictated the message: “Go Jazz. Thank you, Millers.” I could not agree more.