HILL AIR FORCE BASE — For the first time ever, the Utah Jazz played a scrimmage game at a military base.
That first military base was Hill AFB and military members and their families got to see the team as it prepares for the 2017-18 NBA season.
Before the Sept. 29 game at the Warrior Fitness Center here, the Jazz Dunk Team and Jazz Dancers performed for the crowd of several hundred. A few audience members assisted the performers, tossing basketballs in the air for the dunk team and acting as human hurdles to a Jazz acrobat doing front flips over them.
“This is such a great day and great event for our families, for our Airmen, and for our Soldiers who also serve here at Hill Air Force Base,” Col. Jennifer Hammerstedt, 75th Air Base Wing commander, said prior to tipoff. “The opportunity to have the team come here and play on our court is just awesome. We thank them and we’ll be cheering them on the court this year. We hope they have a great season.”
The Jazz players—veterans, newcomers, and rookies—began with warmups and coach Quin Snyder took to the microphone to thank all service members for their sacrifices and the opportunity to scrimmage on the base.
“We’ve discussed the sacrifices the people here on this base make for us,” Snyder said. “It’s a special day.”
The scrimmage game was an opportunity for the Jazz to show appreciation to the military but it also gave coaches a chance to evaluate where the team stands as it prepares for the upcoming season. The inter-squad game consisted of four eight-minute periods between Jazz players wearing blue and gray jerseys.
Jazz player Joe Johnson appreciated the opportunity to play for service members and their families at Hill AFB.
“It was awesome to get a chance to come out here and sign some autographs, take some pictures, hang out,” he said. “It was fun and we had a good time, a great scrimmage, so I hope they enjoyed it.”
The team began playing its preseason schedule Oct. 2 and will play its first regular season home game in Salt Lake City against the Denver Nuggets Oct. 18.