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The Sports View

Sports editor

Will someone please pass the Hornacek glue?

You know, that glue that binds the Jazz together. It held them together for five years and now it has desolved and we need more of it.

And we need it badly.

People talk about how great a player Karl Malone has been. They rave about Stockton and his records. They whine about the loss of Shandon Anderson and Howard Eisely and how it has kept the team from the next level. They gripe about Greg Ostertag and now more recently, John Ameche, and how the team has never had a good center (they tend to forget about Mark Eaton).

Me, I want to talk about Hornacek. He was what made the team almost go over the top. I would never claim he was the "best player ever." He was not even close to that. He was a great team player and had a great attitude. Hornacek had a Larry Bird charisma around him; not the publicity halo Bird did, but a charisma.

When things were going bad he would do something to change it. It could be a big three pointer or one of those unbelievable off balance shots he used to take.

I remember when he first came to the league. I watched him walk onto the court and thought, "who's this joker." He didn't even look like he would be able to dribble a basketball, let alone score. I remember the announcer saying he had been a walk on at Iowa State and was a long shot to make the Phoenix team. He had majored in accounting in college and he looked like he should have been working for H & R Block instead of Jerry Coangelo.

But for the next few years I hated to see him walk on the court when the Suns played the Jazz. He always killed us. I wondered why a guy like him couldn't have come to Utah. Unsung, unheralded out of college; much like Stockton. What a fit I thought. But then he was traded to Philadelphia for Charles Barkley after rumors had been passed around about him coming to the Jazz. I was disappointed, but delighted. He wasn't coming to the Jazz, true, but he was going to be in the Eastern Conference. We would only have to face him twice a year.

I have to think about how good the Jazz might have been had they traded for him at that point instead of three years later. Oh, well.

Will someone please, please pass the Hornacek glue?

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