Sunday Game Hard For Devout

MONDAY, JUNE 9, 1997

David Allred usually is swamped with calls before Jazz games.

Allred is Utah’s vice president of public relations and, as all his friends know, he has four prime season tickets.

But Allred’s phone wasn’t ringing off the hook before Sunday’s Game 4. Most of his Mormon friends had decided to adhere to their religious convictions and stay home.

“I gave my season tickets to my Jewish friends today,” Allred said.

In a perfect world, Allred would have spent Sunday, as he normally does, worshiping and attending meetings in church. But his professional responsibilities won out.

“My preference is to be at home, with my family or in my church meeting, because it’s a very important part of my life and what I believe,” Allred said. “And yet I don’t feel guilty about being here. I have to be here so you (the media) can do your job and Karl Malone can do his job.”

Allred is one of about 1.5 million Mormons who live in Utah. About 60 percent of Salt Lake City residents are Mormons.

Life as a Mormon means saying no to alcohol, caffeine and tobacco products. For devout Mormons, Sunday isn’t just a day to refrain from working. It’s a day to abstain from spending money and partaking in activities that require others to work.

Rodman unhappy with …

During the NBA Finals, Dennis Rodman has regularly displayed his insensitive, disrespectful side.

Asked why he has played so poorly against the Utah Jazz in the NBA Finals, the foul-mouthed Rodman blamed followers of the Mormon faith, the state of Utah, referees, the loud Jazz fans and NBA commissioner David Stern.

“It’s difficult to get in sync because of all the (expletive) Mormons out here,” he said. “And you can quote me on that.”

Rodman, who was suspended two games by the Bulls this season for using profanity in a televised interview, also said: “It doesn’t help that I’m in (expletive) Utah.”

Rodman, who criticizes the league whenever possible, said there was a conspiracy to prevent the Bulls from sweeping the series.

“The league is going to make sure that this series is going to go on so they can get their $15-20 million a game,” he said. “There’s something going on. People can’t win here for some reason. We’re the best team in the NBA and all of a sudden we get these ticky-tack fouls.”

Told that Stern might not be pleased with Rodman’s theories, he said: “David Stern’s not happy with a lot of things about me. The hell with the referees, the hell with the people, the hell with the NBA.”

Anderson remains with family

Shandon Anderson, a reserve guard for the Jazz, didn’t play Sunday night so he could be with his family in Atlanta following the death of his father. He also missed Game 3.

Anderson, a rookie and brother of Willie Anderson of the Miami Heat, averaged 5.9 points during the season and is at 4.6 in the playoffs.

Sloan catching his Z’s

One reason Jerry Sloan has been with the Jazz for nine seasons - the longest active tenure of any NBA coach - is that he has earned the respect of his players, fans and bosses with his honest approach.

“I may be criticized,” he said, “but no one is going to put any more pressure on me than what I put on myself. I know I don’t always do the right thing … but I’m a good sleeper. I sleep well almost every night.”

Even after his decision not to double-team Michael Jordan in the closing seconds played a factor in Utah’s loss to Chicago in the series opener?

“I did what I thought was right,” Sloan said. “I slept well.”

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