Because I’m a sports writer who covers the Utah Jazz for my job, people often ask if NBA players I interact with have had big reactions to my weight loss.
For the most part, the answer is … *crickets* … *tumbleweeds* … in other words, no.
Jazz management and coaches — even Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan and his lovely wife, Tammy — and staff members and ushers and the PR crew and media members have all been effusive with kind words and compliments, but the players have mostly been silent. That’s fine. They’ve got basketball and millions of dollars to focus on, not my shrinking body.
There have been a few fun moments.
After a game last weekend, I teased Boris Diaw that I now weigh less than him. The French power forward, who loves his coffee, wine and fine cuisine, is listed as weighing 250 pounds. I’ve got him by more than 12 lbs now! He’s a foot taller than me, so I’m hoping my self-deprecating humor didn’t somehow go over his head.
The 6-foot-8 athlete smiled, gave me a fist bump and told me, “Keep going.”
Don’t worry, mon ami. I will.
An unprompted compliment came my way a couple of months ago via Derrick Favors. To give some context, Favors had been injured for a good portion of the season, so we hadn’t been able to interview him for a while until a mid-December practice.
The most enthusiastic response happened a week ago when the Oklahoma City Thunder were in town.
Normally I write the main story for Jazz games, but on this particular night I had sidebar duty. Russell Westbrook went off for another triple-double and hit a last-second game-winning shot, so I went to the visitors locker room at Vivint Arena to interview this insanely gifted athlete.
While awkwardly waiting with a pack of media members in the locker room as Westbrook sat in his locker with his knees being iced and his focus being devoted to his phone, I looked over toward the training room and saw a familiar sight: former Jazz center Enes Kanter.
Kanter and I used to get along really well. We both managed to crack each other up on occasion, and he was usually a good and/or fun interview. In February 2015, the young Turk told Tribune writer Aaron Falk and I that he wanted to be traded because he was unhappy with his situation in Utah.
His wish was granted and he became Jazz Enemy No. 1 after he ripped on the organization and team after being traded to Oklahoma City. He kindly admitted that he liked Utah’s mountains, though.
Before last week, I hadn’t seen Kanter since fall of 2015 when his Thunder visited Salt Lake City for a pair of games. He acted happy to see Aaron and a few other media members, but he seemed a bit strange with me. I figured it was because I’d made a few jokes about his defense (or lack thereof). It was also probably just strange for him to get so much attention for saying dumb things and for being a villain in a place that used to adore him.
I was blown away by his reaction this time around, more than a year later.
He was used to seeing this Jody — the bearded and bloated one who used to post about incredible (and fattening) food from travel adventures. (This photo was taken in Dallas around the time I’d last seen Kanter in 2015.)
Now he was seeing this trimmed-down and cleaned-up version of Jody in front of him in the locker room.
To sum up Kanter’s reaction in a GIF:
Kanter stopped in his tracks and checked me out, from head to toe a couple of times. He smiled. I laughed.
“Wowww!!!” Kanter blurted out. “Look at you, man! I’m in shock right now. You look really good!”
It was a really fun moment.
I did, however, miss an opportunity to point out to the 6-foot-11, 245-pound Kanter that I now weigh less than him, too.
If you’re not keeping score at home, I’ve now passed up four Jazz players on the scale this season — and I should clarify that I’m passing them up headed the right direction (down) this time around.
Sorry, Derrick Favors (6-10, 265), Rudy Gobert (7-1, 245), Boris Diaw (6-8, 250) and Joe Johnson (6-7, 240), but you all outweigh this former 5-8, 374-pounder.
As of my last official weigh-in, I’m checking in at a lean and mean 5-8 and 236 pounds. (It’s possible I’ve shrunk down to 5-7 from losing fat in the padding of my foot, but I’m not going to check that.)
My next targets on the Jazz squad: rookie forward Joel Bolomboy (6-9, 235), power forward Trey Lyles (6-10, 234) and center Jeff Withey (7-0, 231). The other Jazz players — from All-Star Gordon Hayward (6-8, 226) to point guards Dante Exum (6-6, 190), George Hill (6-3, 188) and Raul Neto (6-1, 179) — can relax … for now.
My goal, though, is to pass all of them up — you, too, Joe Ingles (6-8, 226), Alec Burks (6-6, 214) and Rodney Hood (6-8, 206) — before the Jazz are done in the playoffs this spring.
If they haven’t noticed my weight loss and health gain by now, they certainly will by then — even if they don’t say anything.
P.S. Here are a couple of links to recent TV interviews I’ve done on Utah stations:
Ch. 4: http://www.good4utah.com/good-morning-utah/should-gordon-hayward-be-on-the-all-star-roster/640170499
This week’s weigh-in:
- Starting weight (March 6): 373.7 pounds
- New Year’s Day weight (Jan. 1): 262.0
- Last week’s weight (Jan. 20): 238.5
- This week’s weight (Jan. 27): 236.0
- This week’s loss: 2.5 pounds
- Total loss: 137.7 pounds