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'I grew up there': Former Jazzman Derrick Favors reflects on his time in Utah, shows support for his old teammates

by Aaron Falk

Derrick Favors expects a fight. Over the years, the veteran big man has seen Rudy Gobert swallow up too many would-be challengers and heard Joe Ingles talk too much trash to expect anything else.

And when the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans face off tonight in preseason action, Favors will have a message for his old teammates and the fans who used to root for him back in Salt Lake City: “Thank you.”

“I would just say I appreciate all the support,” Favors told Utah Jazz sideline reporter Kristen Kenney after shootaround this morning in New Orleans. “I enjoyed my time there. I think they’re some of the best fans in the NBA. They come out every game, whether we’re winning or losing, good season or bad season. They always showed their support. I just want to say thank you for that.”

Favors was a fan favorite during his nine seasons with the Jazz. Favors watched the organization rebuild and then grow into a regular playoff contender under head coach Quin Snyder.

The forward said the team’s Game 6 win over Oklahoma City in the 2018 playoffs was his favorite memory on the court—but it’s far from the only good memory he has of Utah.

“I grew up there,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of memories, a lot of good memories.”

And as he starts the next chapter of his career with New Orleans, Favors still holds a special place in his heart for his old city.

“I still love Utah,” Favors said. “I miss being out there, but sometimes you have to move on and try new things. But life’s been good so far.”

Favors former squad certainly misses him.

“We had a great relationship,” Ingles said. “I feel like we were probably the best pick-and-roll combo in the league for a little while there. Obviously I wish him all the best. He was unbelievable for us.”

Favors wishes the best for his old teammates too. And he’s still showing his support, including wearing Donovan Mitchell’s D.O.N. Issue #1s on the court.

“Before I left Utah, I told him I liked the shoes,” Favors said.

So Mitchell gave his old teammate a pair over the summer and Favors fell in love.

“They became my favorite pair,” Favors said.

“When I saw that, I was like wow,” Mitchell said. “I appreciate that so much.”

Favors, meanwhile, would appreciate a few more pairs.

“I’ll try to rock them all season, if I can get some different colorways,” he said. “If he’ll be kind enough to send me some colorways, that would be great.”

Favors was averaging 5.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in 15 minutes of action during his first two games of the preseason. Playing alongside this year’s No. 1 draft pick, Zion Williamson, Favors is ready to embrace a new challenge in New Orleans.

“It’s an adjustment,” he said. “I’m still figuring out my role, still figuring out my place on the team. Obviously, we’ve got a young team and they want to do things with the young guys. Right now, I’m just figuring things out.”

Favors and the Pelicans will visit Vivint Smart Home Arena on Nov. 23, a game the former Jazzman is looking forward to.

“I don’t know what to expect,” he said. “I’m pretty sure they’ll cheer for me, give me a nice little ovation. I hope I don’t get emotional with it.”

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