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At a recent Jazz practice, a team spokesperson showed me bobblehead figures of Lauri Markkanen and Walker Kessler ahead of their release, and my first reactions were: Well, they definitely got Lauri’s hair right; and that’s not Walker Kessler — that’s Will Hardy.

It’s a long-running joke at this point that Hardy and Kessler look alike. When Hardy was first hired and Kessler was brought to the Jazz, many joked that Kessler was Hardy’s son, his stunt double, his brother, etc. Had they ever been in the same room at the same time? Were there even two people?

It was a lot of fun to rib them about this in those early days. But the bobblehead really does look like Hardy.

Danny Ainge pushes his chips back onto the table

So, I jokingly congratulated the Jazz head coach on his first bobblehead and asked if it was hard to have a conversation with Kessler about them using Hardy’s face instead of Kessler’s.

Hardy still maintains that the two look nothing alike (he’s wrong), but also said that I wasn’t the first person to point out the bobblehead likeness.

“Right when I saw it, I was like, ‘That looks more like coach than me,’” Kessler said with a laugh. “But it does look like me, because obviously, coach looks like me.”

Jokes aside, Kessler and Markkanen are both excited to have their likeness used for bobbleheads and excited that fans are going to be able to have a chance to get both.

The first 1,000 fans that attend SLC Stars games on Feb. 26, and on March 5, will get a limited edition bobblehead. On Feb. 26 it’s Lauri Markkanen bobblehead night and March 5 a Walker Kessler bobblehead will be handed out. Fun!

“I think that it’s cool,” Markkanen said. “They got my curls right, that was the number one thing I saw. It’s good. It’s cool.”

And at least in Markkanen’s case, he won’t have to worry about anyone mistaking his bobblehead for one made to look like his coach.

New with the Jazz

An inside look at what player development looks like with Will Hardy

Quote of the week

“I don’t like to not play to the expectation that I have for myself, and I think that I hold myself to a very high standard. But I also think there’s a balance where you can’t let the expectation debilitate you.” — Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler

From the archives

Rising Star Keyonte George wants the NBA to know he won’t back down
Jazz could look to use Kris Dunn in some new ways as they work through post-trade growing pains

Extra points

  • New opportunities for rookies Taylor Hendricks and Brice Sensabaugh (Deseret News)
  • Did the wrong jersey foil Lauri Markkanen’s All-Star 3-point Contest? (Deseret News)
  • Time to pull the plug on All-Star Games (Deseret News)
  • Why two Jazz players have pro wrestling action figures in their lockers (

Around the league

Up next

  • Feb. 25 | 6 p.m. | Utah Jazz vs. San Antonio Spurs | KJZZ
  • Feb. 27 | 5:30 p.m. | Utah Jazz @ Atlanta Hawks | KJZZ
  • Feb. 29 | 5 p.m. | Utah Jazz @ Orlando Magic | KJZZ
  • March 2 | 3 p.m. | Utah Jazz @ Miami Heat | NBA TV

All times MST.