It’s been four months since that incredible Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals where the Jazz beat the Warriors 127 to 117 in overtime because of the heroics of LDS apostle Robert D. Hales.
Wait, you didn’t know about the incredible, clutch performance of The Haleacious One (the nickname given to him by L. Tom Perry)?
The Energy Solutions Arena’s lower bowl was littered with baby blue, in honor of the infantile nature of the arch rival of The Haleacious One’s alma mater.
I was able to round up a couple suite tickets (in the Citadel Broadcasting suite). My date for the evening, Jonathan, was casting his best jinx on the Golden State Warriors (see left). They were the upstart braggarts of the 2007 NBA Playoffs and the Jazz were about to serve them some humble pie.
The game was an intense affair, punctuated by the noticeable loss of starting 2-guard Derek Fisher. The arena was on edge, but there was a peculiar calm coming from the suite directly to the right of us. I couldn’t put my finger on the particular brand of assuredness emanating from the small group.
As the fourth quarter came to an end, the tension was reaching a palpable climax. The Jazz were putting together a historic late game rally, spurned by the sudden appearance of Derek Fisher, direct from New York. I would later find out the the viewing television audience knew that he was en route, but we in the area had no idea that Fish would emerge from the sea of the Big Apple in time to see any action. After some huge missed opportunities by the Warriors and some stifling defense and a key 3-pointer from Fish, the Jazz forced an Overtime decision. There was something too perfect, almost scripted about the entire affair. The Jazz came out firing in the opening minute of the Overtime period and a win was never in doubt – a suitable yet subtle denouement that was definitely story book.
It wasn’t until the waning minutes of OT that I realized why such a perfect playoff game was unfolding in the dramatic fashion it was. Gazing into the adjacent suite, I zeroed in on the source – the reason – for the Jazz’s victory that night. The apostle Robert D. Hales was sitting there, stoic and confident, as if willing – no, controlling the entire outcome of the game. What I and tens of thousands of others were witness to that night was a miracle – a great and eternal plan to reward the Jazz and their fan base for years of faithful devotion after the Fall of Stockton and Malone to the ever-selfish deceiver, Michael Jordan.