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Warriors call Utah boring, but fans say it's place to party

Associated Press logo Associated Press 5/3/2017 By BRADY McCOMBS, Associated Press
This Tuesday, May 2, 2017, photo, Utah Jazz fan Nick Maneotis, 31, drinks a beer on a roof top deck as his friend watches a Jazz game, in Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City leaders and tourism officials playfully jabbed back at Golden State Warriors players who bemoaned the lack of nightlife in Utah, hoping to combat the predominantly Mormon state's reputation as a boring place where it's tough to get a drink. The tourism agency in the state capital launched a new website and video Monday titled, "There's nothing to do in Salt Lake" that features people enjoying drinks and food at popular breweries, bars, restaurants and sporting venues. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) © The Associated Press This Tuesday, May 2, 2017, photo, Utah Jazz fan Nick Maneotis, 31, drinks a beer on a roof top deck as his friend watches a Jazz game, in Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City leaders and tourism officials playfully jabbed back at Golden State Warriors players who bemoaned the lack of nightlife in Utah, hoping to combat the predominantly Mormon state's reputation as a boring place where it's tough to get a drink. The tourism agency in the state capital launched a new website and video Monday titled, "There's nothing to do in Salt Lake" that features people enjoying drinks and food at popular breweries, bars, restaurants and sporting venues. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Salt Lake City tourism officials playfully jabbed back at Golden State Warriors players who bemoaned the lack of nightlife in Utah, hoping to combat the predominantly Mormon state's reputation as a boring place where it's tough to get a drink.

In this Tuesday, May 2, 2017 photo, Utah Jazz fans party on a roof top deck during halftime as the Utah Jazz-Golden State Warriors NBA basketball playoff game is broadcast on a large television in Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City leaders and tourism officials playfully jabbed back at Golden State Warriors players who bemoaned the lack of nightlife in Utah, hoping to combat the predominantly Mormon state's reputation as a boring place where it's tough to get a drink. The tourism agency in the state capital launched a new website and video Monday titled, "There's nothing to do in Salt Lake" that features people enjoying drinks and food at popular breweries, bars, restaurants and sporting venues. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) © The Associated Press In this Tuesday, May 2, 2017 photo, Utah Jazz fans party on a roof top deck during halftime as the Utah Jazz-Golden State Warriors NBA basketball playoff game is broadcast on a large television in Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City leaders and tourism officials playfully jabbed back at Golden State Warriors players who bemoaned the lack of nightlife in Utah, hoping to combat the predominantly Mormon state's reputation as a boring place where it's tough to get a drink. The tourism agency in the state capital launched a new website and video Monday titled, "There's nothing to do in Salt Lake" that features people enjoying drinks and food at popular breweries, bars, restaurants and sporting venues. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The tourism agency in the state capital launched a new website and video Monday titled, "There's nothing to do in Salt Lake" that features people enjoying drinks and food at popular breweries, bars, restaurants and sporting venues. The words "no fun" and "no drinking" sarcastically flash across images in the video.

Utah Jazz fans watch a Jazz Warriors game at Legends Sports Grill in Salt Lake City Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Salt Lake City leaders and tourism officials playfully jabbed back at Golden State Warriors players who bemoaned the lack of nightlife in Utah, hoping to combat the predominantly Mormon state's reputation as a boring place where it's tough to get a drink. The tourism agency in the state capital launched a new website and video Monday titled, "There's nothing to do in Salt Lake" that features people enjoying drinks and food at popular breweries, bars, restaurants and sporting venues. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) © The Associated Press Utah Jazz fans watch a Jazz Warriors game at Legends Sports Grill in Salt Lake City Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Salt Lake City leaders and tourism officials playfully jabbed back at Golden State Warriors players who bemoaned the lack of nightlife in Utah, hoping to combat the predominantly Mormon state's reputation as a boring place where it's tough to get a drink. The tourism agency in the state capital launched a new website and video Monday titled, "There's nothing to do in Salt Lake" that features people enjoying drinks and food at popular breweries, bars, restaurants and sporting venues. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Scott Beck, president of Visit Salt Lake, sent a letter to the Warriors to accompany the video, saying the city can't wait to host the 2015 NBA champions as they face the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference semifinals this weekend.

This Tuesday, May 2, 2017, photo, Utah Jazz fan Welby Evangelista, 46, drinks a beer at Gracie's Bar and Restaurant, in Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City leaders and tourism officials playfully jabbed back at Golden State Warriors players who bemoaned the lack of nightlife in Utah, hoping to combat the predominantly Mormon state's reputation as a boring place where it's tough to get a drink. The tourism agency in the state capital launched a new website and video Monday titled, "There's nothing to do in Salt Lake" that features people enjoying drinks and food at popular breweries, bars, restaurants and sporting venues. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) © The Associated Press This Tuesday, May 2, 2017, photo, Utah Jazz fan Welby Evangelista, 46, drinks a beer at Gracie's Bar and Restaurant, in Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City leaders and tourism officials playfully jabbed back at Golden State Warriors players who bemoaned the lack of nightlife in Utah, hoping to combat the predominantly Mormon state's reputation as a boring place where it's tough to get a drink. The tourism agency in the state capital launched a new website and video Monday titled, "There's nothing to do in Salt Lake" that features people enjoying drinks and food at popular breweries, bars, restaurants and sporting venues. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

"In case you do stumble across something to do while here in Salt Lake, all of our bartenders and servers are on notice to keep you up late!" Beck wrote.

People sit at the bar at Gracie's Bar and Restaurant, in Salt Lake City Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Salt Lake City leaders and tourism officials playfully jabbed back at Golden State Warriors players who bemoaned the lack of nightlife in Utah, hoping to combat the predominantly Mormon state's reputation as a boring place where it's tough to get a drink. The tourism agency in the state capital launched a new website and video Monday titled, "There's nothing to do in Salt Lake" that features people enjoying drinks and food at popular breweries, bars, restaurants and sporting venues. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) © The Associated Press People sit at the bar at Gracie's Bar and Restaurant, in Salt Lake City Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Salt Lake City leaders and tourism officials playfully jabbed back at Golden State Warriors players who bemoaned the lack of nightlife in Utah, hoping to combat the predominantly Mormon state's reputation as a boring place where it's tough to get a drink. The tourism agency in the state capital launched a new website and video Monday titled, "There's nothing to do in Salt Lake" that features people enjoying drinks and food at popular breweries, bars, restaurants and sporting venues. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The Jazz said Wednesday that they will sell navy blue T-shirts with "#Nightlife" written over a basketball logo in the team's colors.

Utah Jazz fan Abigail Roberson drinks a beer while watching a Jazz Warriors game at Legends Sports Grill in Salt Lake City Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Salt Lake City leaders and tourism officials playfully jabbed back at Golden State Warriors players who bemoaned the lack of nightlife in Utah, hoping to combat the predominantly Mormon state's reputation as a boring place where it's tough to get a drink. The tourism agency in the state capital launched a new website and video Monday titled, "There's nothing to do in Salt Lake" that features people enjoying drinks and food at popular breweries, bars, restaurants and sporting venues. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) © The Associated Press Utah Jazz fan Abigail Roberson drinks a beer while watching a Jazz Warriors game at Legends Sports Grill in Salt Lake City Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Salt Lake City leaders and tourism officials playfully jabbed back at Golden State Warriors players who bemoaned the lack of nightlife in Utah, hoping to combat the predominantly Mormon state's reputation as a boring place where it's tough to get a drink. The tourism agency in the state capital launched a new website and video Monday titled, "There's nothing to do in Salt Lake" that features people enjoying drinks and food at popular breweries, bars, restaurants and sporting venues. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The city's campaign comes after some of the Warriors players talked about wishing they were playing the Clippers instead of the Jazz, mostly for the chance to have some time off in Los Angeles rather than Salt Lake City.

In this Tuesday, May 2, 2017 photo, Dustin Smith, 28, plays pool as the Utah Jazz-Golden State Warriors NBA basketball playoff game is broadcast on a television at Poplar Street Pub in Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City leaders and tourism officials playfully jabbed back at Golden State Warriors players who bemoaned the lack of nightlife in Utah, hoping to combat the predominantly Mormon state's reputation as a boring place where it's tough to get a drink. The tourism agency in the state capital launched a new website and video Monday titled, "There's nothing to do in Salt Lake" that features people enjoying drinks and food at popular breweries, bars, restaurants and sporting venues. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) © The Associated Press In this Tuesday, May 2, 2017 photo, Dustin Smith, 28, plays pool as the Utah Jazz-Golden State Warriors NBA basketball playoff game is broadcast on a television at Poplar Street Pub in Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City leaders and tourism officials playfully jabbed back at Golden State Warriors players who bemoaned the lack of nightlife in Utah, hoping to combat the predominantly Mormon state's reputation as a boring place where it's tough to get a drink. The tourism agency in the state capital launched a new website and video Monday titled, "There's nothing to do in Salt Lake" that features people enjoying drinks and food at popular breweries, bars, restaurants and sporting venues. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Andre Iguodala told ESPN that Utah can "lull you to sleep" and make you think, "Man, let's just get out of here.'" Matt Barnes said declaratively: "There's no nightlife in Utah."

People sit at the bar at Gracie's Bar and Restaurant, in Salt Lake City Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Salt Lake City leaders and tourism officials playfully jabbed back at Golden State Warriors players who bemoaned the lack of nightlife in Utah, hoping to combat the predominantly Mormon state's reputation as a boring place where it's tough to get a drink. The tourism agency in the state capital launched a new website and video Monday titled, "There's nothing to do in Salt Lake" that features people enjoying drinks and food at popular breweries, bars, restaurants and sporting venues. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) © The Associated Press People sit at the bar at Gracie's Bar and Restaurant, in Salt Lake City Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Salt Lake City leaders and tourism officials playfully jabbed back at Golden State Warriors players who bemoaned the lack of nightlife in Utah, hoping to combat the predominantly Mormon state's reputation as a boring place where it's tough to get a drink. The tourism agency in the state capital launched a new website and video Monday titled, "There's nothing to do in Salt Lake" that features people enjoying drinks and food at popular breweries, bars, restaurants and sporting venues. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Nick Maneotis, a 31-year-old construction worker, shot back at Barnes while watching Game 1 Tuesday night at a Salt Lake City restaurant: "Matt Barnes should focus more on basketball than nightlife."

In this Tuesday, May 2, 2017, photo, Breweries Cinema Pub announce they are showing the Utah Jazz-Golden State Warriors NBA basketball playoff game on their marquee in Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City leaders and tourism officials playfully jabbed back at Golden State Warriors players who bemoaned the lack of nightlife in Utah, hoping to combat the predominantly Mormon state's reputation as a boring place where it's tough to get a drink. The tourism agency in the state capital launched a new website and video Monday titled, "There's nothing to do in Salt Lake" that features people enjoying drinks and food at popular breweries, bars, restaurants and sporting venues. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) © The Associated Press In this Tuesday, May 2, 2017, photo, Breweries Cinema Pub announce they are showing the Utah Jazz-Golden State Warriors NBA basketball playoff game on their marquee in Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City leaders and tourism officials playfully jabbed back at Golden State Warriors players who bemoaned the lack of nightlife in Utah, hoping to combat the predominantly Mormon state's reputation as a boring place where it's tough to get a drink. The tourism agency in the state capital launched a new website and video Monday titled, "There's nothing to do in Salt Lake" that features people enjoying drinks and food at popular breweries, bars, restaurants and sporting venues. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Tourism officials are used to dealing with the perception that Utah is a dull, quiet state where the only thing to do is ski, hike or visit family-friendly entertainment options tailored for kids. The reputation is based largely on the influence of the Mormon church, which teaches its members to abstain from drinking alcohol.

"It was a little bit of deja vu," Beck said Tuesday, laughing about when he read the Warriors' comments. "It was like, 'Oh no, not again' and then, 'Wait a minute, this is an opportunity.'"

Beck's team then created the website, produced the video and rolled out a social media plan.

"Everybody knows we have great red rock and everybody knows we have great snow, but they don't know we have this incredible urban core," Beck said.

Several residents in Salt Lake City — where the Jazz dominate the sports scene — scoffed at the California players' comments.

"The Warriors were misinformed," said Welby Evangelista, 46. "This is a town that has many things to offer ... if you are looking for a bar, there's 30 bars around us. You just have to look."

Crystal Daniels, 32, said she finds fun every night and lamented that outsiders believe you can't drink in Utah.

"Salt Lake City in a nutshell: Everybody has this idea that it's basically ruled by the church," said Dustin Smith, 28. "It's unfortunate that people perceive it that way. There's a lot of great things going on. ... All you got to do is walk in and actually meet people."

Beck said his office is discussing options with Jazz officials about possible events over the weekend to have more fun with the Warriors.

"We're floating around some really good ideas," Beck said.

___

Associated Press photographer Rick Bowmer contributed to this story.

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