The Salt Lake Tribune’s Phil Miller (no relation to the Brokeback-hating Jazz owner) has the tragic, say-it-ain’t-so news that Utah C Greg Ostertag, “both treasured and taunted for a game that careened wildly between clumsy and capable” is hanging up the hot pants.
Ostertag will walk away from the NBA for good sometime around 9:15 p.m. Wednesday, after playing (presumably) the 756th and final game of his 11-year professional career. He still loves basketball, he said, cherishes his teammates’ friendships and, yes, even respects the nagging Miss Manners of a coach he never managed to satisfy.
It’s those Ritz Carlton folks he can’t stand.
“It’s a lot of bus rides, a lot of plane rides, a lot of hotels. And I realized that I just don’t want to do it anymore,” said the Jazz’s lone thirty-something. “Honestly, I thought I would play for 15 years. When I came to camp, I planned on playing at least a couple more. Physically, there’s no doubt I could play longer. But I don’t have any desire to do that now.”
Particularly since Ostertag got a close-up look over these past five months at what four more seasons might feel like: Practicing for opportunities that rarely come, wearing a uniform but rarely a good sweat, his scoring totals looking like something you find in a dish next to a 7-Eleven cash register. He has scored one point since March 1, making Monday’s announcement the first time Jazz fans may have noticed Ostertag in a while.