Pink Grandmas remain loyal to Jazz basketball team
MURRAY, Utah (AP) — The Pink Grandmas bleed green, purple and gold. They’re sweating out all of those colors as their beloved Utah Jazz stare at a 0-2 deficit against the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference semifinals.
Yeiko Homma and Keiko Mori are known as the Pink Grandmas for their attire — pink Jazz jerseys. For the last 20 years, they’ve charmed Utah fans, players and coaches with their loyalty and love for their team and each other.
Homma, 92, and Mori, 88, were at Mori’s home Sunday watching Game 7 of the Jazz’s first-round series vs the Los Angeles Clippers, surrounded by a dozen family members, the Salt Lake Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/2qBwu9n ). Wherever Mori watches, that’s where Homma watches.
When Mori went to Intermountain Medical Center for seven days last week, Homma joined her by her bedside, donning pink Gordon Hayward jerseys to cheer for the Jazz the same way they have for two decades.
“We go together,” Homma said. “That’s how we do it.”
The sisters believe they attended more than 600 games live. Mori said it’s the atmosphere that keeps her coming back.
“It’s just special to be there,” she said.
Their fierce loyalty for the team has garnered the sisters fans of their own.
The Utah Jazz hosted a fan meet-and-greet with recently added team members not long after the 2014 NBA draft. Even though stars like Rudy Gobert and Dante Exum were in attendance, the Pink Grandmas had one of the longest lines for pictures.
Their aisle seats — in Section 7, Row 12 of the Jazz’s Vivint Smart Home Arena — are visited by fellow Jazz loyalists. The pair has been featured in a commercial for Jazz season tickets, and they frequently are recognized on the street.
“Other than (former Jazz head coach) Jerry Sloan, they get the loudest applause when they’re on the JumboTron,” radio play-by-play man David Locke said.
Mori and Homma first started wearing pink to stand out. A family friend, Brad Nakamura, bought them pink jackets so he could see them from his seat across from the basket.
Attending the games together was a great way for the sisters to reconnect as adults after a tough childhood impacted by immigration and World War II. The sisters’ family was separated. Half lived in Japan. The others left to the United States.
When Mori was pregnant with her second child in the early 1950s, the family sent for Homma.
When the two met, they had a language barrier.
“It took a little while,” Mori said of how long it took for her and her sister to become close. “But it wasn’t like we were strangers. It was just natural.”
A few years ago, Homma moved four houses down the street from Mori. They talk, cook and watch Jazz games, almost always together.
But something disrupted the sisters’ daily routine two weeks ago. Mori’s normally talks with their other sister, Miyoshi Marumoto, every morning. As Homma watched TV, she suddenly heard her sister’s chatter go to silence.
“It was really quiet,” Homma said. “I turned around, and my sister is on the floor.”
Homma went to get the neighbor for help.
Mori was taken the intensive care unit at IMC.
Doctors told her she had a seizure, caused by low levels of sodium. They recommended Mori monitor her fluid intake and diet.
The sisters are still unsure if Mori will be well enough to attend the Jazz’s upcoming home games. Mori is staying optimistic on her chances of making it back to the stands and Jazz’s chances of defeating the Golden State Warriors.
“I’ll be back,” Mori said.
Fellow Jazz Nation members have reached out to the sisters on the pair’s Twitter account wishing Mori a speedy recovery.
Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com