The Utah Jazz will change their name to the Utah Classic Country effectively immediately, the team announced.
The move comes after years of confusion from NBA fans across the world who know no one in Utah listens to jazz. The new name acknowledges that basic fact, said team owner Ryan Smith, who purchased the franchise in October.
“It’s 2021. Times have changed,” Smith explained. “Teams across sports are dropping their painfully racist and antique names for other shit that hasn’t been announced yet. We figured it was time Utah joined the 21st century.”
Several teams across major North American pro sports have changed their nicknames lately, like the Washington Football Team and Cleveland Indians, which vowed in December to come up with something else at some point. Utah’s NBA team is getting in on the fun after years of activists calling for a switch.
Utah will change its name from the Jazz to the Classic Country to be more true to the realities of the world, Smith said.
“We all watched what unfolded in America and around the globe last summer,” Smith said. “Utah is not known for jazz or progressive thought. I think it’s high time we pay attention to at least one of those things.”
Fans in Salt Lake City and elsewhere across Utah have had mostly positive reactions to the news. Merle Haggard’s “Okie From Muskogee” has been heard blaring through the windows of double-wide pickup trucks in the state since the announcement, a potential sign of the fan base’s misunderstanding of what’s happening here.
“This is a great day for the people of Provo, the people of Utah, and the people of classic country,” said Joseph Smith, mayor of Provo, Utah. “Finally, we are free from jazz and it’s weird-sounding speech, different customs and unique style of dress that make us classic country fans feel very uncomfortable.
“It’s not that we hate jazz, though. We don’t,” he clarified, beginning to fidget and avert eye contact. “Some of my best friends listen to jazz. There are plenty of fine people who listen to jazz. The Utah community simply prefers classic country. It’s what we know. It’s what we’re used to around here. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Derrick Favors, who has played for Utah for almost the entirety of his 11-year NBA career, said that as a man of jazz, he thinks the classic country name will fit the team better.
“You been to our games? There’s no jazz here,” Favors explained. “Shit, you’re lucky if these people can even clap to a beat.”
With the “Jazz” nickname now available, it is possible for the New Orleans Pelicans to bring it back. But the team said there’s no way it drops the dope-ass name it has now.
“There’s no way we’re giving up on the Pelicans name. It’s way too sick,” said owner Gayle Benson. “Dude, these things basically have fish nets for throats. They don’t look like they’re from this planet. They’re just too fire.”
So, with the “Jazz” moniker available, it’s a question of whether or not another franchise will jump to claim the name. NBA commissioner and Hall of Doom architect Adam Silver said the league highly values the name but support Utah changing its name.
“We are very proud of our people of jazz,” Silver said. “The NBA would be nowhere without them. But, the name doesn’t belong in Utah. As a classic country man who dabbles in some Hanukkah hits, I definitely have no opinion on where it belongs, so I will leave that up to our jazz fans, players and owner.”
This article was originally published Jan. 14, 2021.