It must have been sometime in February of 2006, my first season covering the Utah Jazz here at the Standard-Examiner.
I'd gone to the team's morning practice at the Zions Bank Basketball Center and had a great interview with Carlos Boozer, who at the time was battling a hamstring injury and hadn't played all season. He was finally ready to start playing again and I had myself a story to write.
Before heading back northward, I rewound the micro-cassette tape in my recorder and was horrified when the darn thing just kept spinning and spinning. The little tape had slipped off the little reel and I was more than a little frustrated by the unfortunate turn of events.
Yes, I'd written down a few things in a notebook, but I really needed to hear that interview again. So I stopped at a Radio Shack store in Centerville and out of sheer desperation asked the guy at the counter if he could fix my tape. As added incentive I told him I'd buy his finest digital recorder if he could do the job.
It took him a few minutes, but he made the necessary repairs. I was so relieved I gladly paid $100 bucks for a nice, new digital model that not only made clear recordings, I could plug it into my laptop computer, download the sound file and, in theory, keep it forever.
Turns out it was some of the best money I've ever spent.
Over the years I've done hundreds of interviews with that digital recorder and filed the majority of them into my computer. In fact, a few years ago a colleague of mine bought the same model but never could get comfortable with the technology (a little too old-school, I guess). I offered him $25 for it and now I've got two of those little humdingers.
Sometimes I go back and search for old sound bites because I need them for a story or a column. Sometimes I go back and listen to them just for fun. Here are a few interesting tidbits I rediscovered:
Larry Krystkowiak on Karl Malone: In March of 2006, Krystkowiak, a former University of Montana hoops standout and onetime NBA teammate of The Mailman, brought the Grizzlies to the Huntsman Center as a No. 12 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Krystkowiak, who ironically now works full time at the Huntsman Center as Utah's head coach, helped guide Montana to an 87-79 upset victory over Nevada in the opening round. A day earlier he spoke of Malone, who was about to have his No. 32 jersey retired by the Jazz.
His words said a lot about the future Hall of Fame power forward.
"The thing I'll never forget about Karl is, he played 40 minutes a night, then we'd fly into a (new) town and not have practice (the next day)," Krystkowiak said. "I'd go to workout (in the hotel fitness room) and he'd be in there on the Stairmaster. He'd ride it at the highest level for 60 minutes then he'd lift weights and when he was done there'd just be a puddle of sweat underneath it.
"I just thought, 'Man, anybody that's putting in that much work and effort into staying in condition -- when of all people, after the night before he had no reason to be doing that - he earned everything he got. He deserved it."
Deron Williams on golf: When he first arrived in Utah to play for the Jazz, DWill didn't have much need for golf, but it eventually became a hobby, then a passion.
In June of 2008 he was invited to play in Johnny Miller's Champions Challenge at Thanksgiving Point. He hadn't been playing long and the future All-Star was incredibly nervous about teeing it up in front of a live crowd. He admitted he'd only been playing seriously for about two years, but said he'd been playing almost every day since the Jazz season ended a month earlier.
"My best round was an 84," he said. "(But) I can go up to 105, 106 -- I can keep going if you want me to."
Williams said that 84 came at the super-exclusive Park City club, Glenwild; certainly not a bad number for a relative newcomer. DWill also hoped his NBA shoe sponsor, Nike, would kick in for some new clubs.
"I need to talk to Nike," he said. "I'm playing Callaways right now. (Nike) may not like that. They need to get me fitted up."
Kevin McHale on rebounding: In December of 2008, Hall of Fame forward Kevin McHale was working as vice president of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves. By the time the T-Wolves visited the Jazz in January of '09, McHale had been asked to move from the front office to the bench, replacing former head coach Randy Wittman.
After Minnesota's morning shoot-around on Jan. 20, McHale, who averaged 17.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game over a 13-year career with the Boston Celtics, reflected on the art of rebounding.
Specifically, he mentioned then-rookie Kevin Love and future Jazzman Al Jefferson as examples of great young rebounders.
He then chuckled as he thought back to his playing days and the notion of grinding for rebounds each night.
"I think back then if you were a bigger guy you went to the offensive glass, you sprinted back on defense. There were certain things you just did," he said. "Now, bigs like to stop at the 3-point line and shoot it. It's just different. I think there were better rebounders back then because that was your job. It wasn't like it was optional. (Coaches said) 'You're going to rebound or I'm going to be knee-deep up your rear end with my foot.' It wasn't like there were a lot of options."
Marc Wilson on juggling quarterbacks: In the late 1970s, Marc Wilson and Jim McMahon briefly split time as quarterbacks at BYU. More than 30 years later he returned to Provo, along with several other great Cougar QBs, for an athletic department fundraiser.
In September of 2010, Wilson stood near McMahon at the Riverside Country Club and explained the secret to sharing the spotlight. Given that BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall had just announced his decision to play quarterbacks Riley Nelson and Jake Heaps in tandem that season, Wilson's perspective was as valuable then as it is now.
"I think where it gets a little tricky is, it's so competitive and there's such a fine line between winning and losing," he said. "I think probably the bigger issue is, will guys follow two (quarterbacks)? People are going to have their feelings about one or the other and if one is playing and it causes you to give just a little less effort, that is going to show up and it's probably going to be interpreted towards the success or failure of the quarterback.
"That's why it's tricky. It's not to say guys will do that intentionally, but we all feel the way we do about certain things and in a football game if only a few guys give a little bit less than they normally would have, it's going to impact the result of that play."
Well, there you have it, a few tasty little morsels to warm up your Thanksgiving appetite. Oh, and as long as we're expressing our gratitude, here's a tip of the cap to the clerk working at the Centerville Radio Shack in February of 2006.
Thanks for the memories.
Jim Burton is the Standard-Examiner's sports columnist. He also covers the Utah Jazz and the NBA. He can be reached at 801-625-4265 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets at http://twitter.com/jmb247