Twelve years; How does one do justice to 12 memorable, amazing years in a few paragraphs. I was fortunate enough to play in the NBA during one of the greatest eras of any professional sport. I knew, from the very start of my career, that my game, my business, would be conducted down in the key. A lot of great players came to visit me there; men with names like Magic, Bird, Kareem and Jordan. It was a challenge, a privilege and a pleasure to do battle with these people.
It was a wonderful journey. One that spanned hundreds of games and, hundreds of thousands of miles. Still, it seemed to pass all to quickly. Now it is my turn to step off the court and join the retired ranks.The part of the journey that is closest to my heart, and freshest in my memory though, has been the evolution of the Jazz over the last dozen years. The teams, the players - everyone from A.D., Griff, Rich Kelley and The Whopper to Bobby, Iavaroni, Karl and Stock, the people in the organization, the fans - so many moments to reflect on. While the recent years have been highly successful and rewarding in their own right, It is the early years that I remember most fondly. There was a time when a win was a celebrated event, not necessarily an expected one. I remember toasting the first winning home record, the first playoff berth, and the first division title. The Salt Palace, Westminster College and the Sports mall come flooding back as well. The "family" feeling that grew through those early years has become the Jazz persona. This year, as the trees change and the air cools, I recall the emotion and excitement associated with so many training camps. The fact that this is no longer a part of my life, leaves me with strange feelings indeed.
As various parts of my body have become bent and broken, I have been fortunate to come in contact with a number of people who have helped me endure and enjoy a long and successful career with the Jazz. I would like to take this opportunity to thank a few of them:
Dr. Shields, Dr. Mason and the whole group up at Lakeview, for their expertise and total dedication. Dr. Buhler, for his friendship, intuition and common sense approach to healing. Dr. Lowe, Dr. Paulos and Dr. Hood for your care and logical analysis; Marc Larson and everyone at Summit Sports Medicine, for trying to rehabilitate this battered body.
Just a few more: Bigger Faster Stronger for shaping this body. Rev. Jerry Lewis, for his friendship and counsel. Pastor Phil Stogner for helping me through this last, most difficult year. Keith Henschen for lending an ear. Dave G., for all your help, many others who I don't have room to mention, and to this community, as a whole. To all of you who have supported me through the years-please accept ray heartfelt thanks.
For those of you that want to know Mark Eaton deep down inside, I leave you with Ephesians 2:8-10 and Phil 1: 9-11.
It has been a great ride, but life does have a way moving on and I =St move on with it. Thank you for letting me be a part of your life and community, I'll be around. Mark.