Forever a Jazz Fan—Longtime season-ticket holder wills a lifetime's worth of Jazz memorabilia for charity

by Aaron Falk

Janet Wootton bought the bullhorn for her favorite team’s first trip to the NBA Finals, and over the years it became her calling card. It amplified her voice as she cheered on the Utah Jazz. It did the same when she thought her guys weren’t playing their best.

A ban on electronic noisemakers at the arena didn’t quiet Wootton. She was still in her seats every game (and asking to bring her bullhorn back).

But when Wootton did not renew her season tickets last spring—the tickets she'd held since 1993—her Utah Jazz rep got worried.

“I called her and I could tell she was sick,” Utah Jazz senior membership service manager Spencer Andreason said. “She started crying and she said she didn’t think she would make it.”

It was Wootton’s second battle with cancer. She watched the Jazz’s playoff run from her bed. In June, she died at the age of 71.

But Wootton’s voice would still be heard.

She was a loyal Jazz fan and an avid collector. Before Wootton passed away, she asked her family to donate her Utah Jazz memorabilia to the team to be auctioned off for charitable causes, including cancer research. Plans are still being finalized for Wootton’s collection, but the generous gift perfectly embodies her spirit.

“She was all about charity,” said Brighton Egbert, Wootton’s granddaughter and estate executor. “She loved giving back and helping those in need—and she was crazy about the Jazz.”

Wootton’s love of basketball started in her home state of Kansas. She was a diehard Jayhawks fan. But when she moved to Utah in the 1980s, she fell in love with the Jazz.

“You would walk into her office and the walls would be plastered with signed posters,” Egbert said. “She had jerseys in shadow boxes in her house. It was everywhere.”

Wootton’s license plate read “IMJZZ".

She loved getting the chance to meet and talk with the players. She attended every event she could in search of autographs and photos and conversation. She also loved the charitable events. She was a regular at the Leapin’ Leaners and Low Tops event.

“She was the sweetest lady,” Andreason said.

And Wootton was passionate.

“Growing up, I remember she’d be working late and the Jazz game would be on at home. You could hear her yelling at the TV,” Egbert said. “That was one thing everyone loved about her. She always remembered to yell at those guys if they weren’t doing what they were supposed to.”

Wootton held season tickets for 25 years, moving around the lower bowl and always trying to stay close to the Utah Jazz bench. Each season, she tried to get every player on the team to autograph a basketball. Each game, she wore a leather jacket covered in her favorite players' silver signatures.

And every chance she got, she asked if she could bring back her beloved bullhorn.

“I’ve talked to a lot of the security guys,” Egbert said. “They knew her as the Bullhorn Lady.”

Andreason personally went to Wootton’s home after her death, filling up a pickup truck with boxes of memorabilia. There were magazines and figurines, ornaments and T-shirts, basketballs and three leather jackets covered with autographs

And, in one of her boxes, there was Wootton’s bullhorn.

Tags