Utah Jazz: No Rocky Mountain Revue this summer
Published: Friday, May 1, 2009 9:51 p.m. MDT
By Tim Buckley
The Jazz are done with the Rocky Mountain Revue.
At least for now.
The team announced Friday that this year it will not host its annual July NBA summer league for rookies, youngsters and free agents and instead will field an entry in the Orlando Pro Summer League.
The decision was made because the competing Vegas Summer League in Las Vegas has drawn teams away from the Revue, and Jazz officials could not get enough commitments to justify holding their own long-running event.
"We couldn't get six teams — five, plus us — to come and participate in it," general manager Kevin O'Connor said. "We got caught up in a numbers game, and the economy."
"Since the NBA began its own summer league in Las Vegas, we have slowly been losing participation in our event," Jazz president Randy Rigby added in a statement released by the team. "The few teams that played in both Utah and Vegas have now decided to forgo the Rocky Mountain Revue and only attend Vegas for budgetary reasons."
O'Connor did not rule out the possibility the Revue could return in 2010 or later.
"We really are gonna miss it," he said.
"We're annoyed," the Jazz GM added. "We put on a terrific show for basketball and are disappointed we're not going to be able to put it on again this year. Disappointed for our fans, too."
The Revue — started at Westminster College as a pro-am league in 1984, and started in its most recent format in 1990 — grew into a summertime sports institution of sorts in Salt Lake City, and has an alumni participation list that includes the likes of current NBA stars Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant.
Last year's Revue MVP, undrafted Georgia Tech guard Anthony Morrow, parlayed a solid summer-league performance into a season-long gig with the Golden State Warriors.
Current Utah point guard and Team USA Olympian Deron Williams made his first appearance in a Jazz uniform at the 2005 Revue.
Bryon Russell played in it three different years, and fellow former Jazz guard DeShawn Stevenson played in it four years in a row.
The Revue also became a social gathering spot for NBA movers and shakers, including coaches and general manager types (Larry Bird once was a regular), agents (O'Connor often could be seen talking business or making small talk with the likes of Marc Fleisher, who represents, among others, both Andrei Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur) and future Hall of Famers (Karl Malone once famously complained about having to pay $5 for a ticket when he attended shortly after the end of his career with the Jazz). But its popularity seems to have waned in recent years, both in terms of participation from other teams and attendance.
Eight clubs took part last July, including the Iranian National Team and a collection of players from the NBA Development League.
At its peak, the summer league — which has been held at Salt Lake Community College's Lifetime Activities Center since 2000 — turned away fans at the doors.
More recently, though, Jazz games have failed to sell out in the 5,000-seat facility.
In Orlando, the Jazz's 2009 summer leaguers — expected to include '08 first-round draft choice Kosta Koufos and, if they don't trade it, their selection with the No. 20 overall pick in next month's draft — will play in a sterile, closed-to-the-public environment.
The Jazz had no interest in playing at the agent-founded Vegas league that lured away so many of its usual Revue participants, and instead opted for the Florida league, which this year will run from July 6-10.
"We will not go to Las Vegas," O'Connor said. "We felt like Orlando was a better place to play basketball."