Utah Jazz return to playoffs invigorates fans, including courtside staples

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Dr. Richard Anderson sits in his office surrounded by Jazz memorabilia (Photo: Meghan Thackrey/KUTV)

(KUTV) Friday’s playoff game against the Los Angeles Clippers marked the end of a long drought for Utah Jazz fans.

After five years, the team finally made it to the playoffs. For those fans who have followed the Jazz for decades, it’s especially satisfying.

“I think we’re going to sink them in Salt Lake here,” said Dr. Richard Anderson, a world-renowned eye doctor from Salt Lake City who has sat courtside at every home game for 31 years.

His creative props and noisy antics have attracted attention around the NBA.

“I’d like to think I’m the best fan,” Anderson said. “As long as I'm considered to be the best fan, then I've got to go to the game.”

Anderson packs an enthusiasm and team spirit decades in the making. His optimism is brimming for a successful Jazz post-season.

And at age 72, this super fan has no plans to call it quits.

“It gets you going and it gets your juices flowing again,” Anderson said. “When you get older, if you don't keep your juices flowing, you're going to get old!”

John Sudbury of Magna has been attending Jazz games even longer than Anderson — since 1979, the first year the Jazz played in Utah.

“My worst seat is where I sit right now,” Sudbury joked, “in row three.”

Sudbury has seen the Jazz at their highest — and lowest.

“It was hard those years that we weren't in the playoffs,” he said.

That's why Friday’s first playoff home game felt so good.

“I'm expecting the Jazz to come out to play tonight and again on Sunday,” Sudbury said. “If I had my wishes, we'd be 3-1 going back to LA.”

Mike Grover, who was spotted Friday morning in a Utah Jazz jersey walking the streets of Salt Lake City, said a return to the playoffs is like “coming back home” after five years.

“It feels like it's coming out of hibernation that finally Utah basketball's back,” Grover said.