Greg Miller, ceo of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, may be 6-foot-4. But it was no slam dunk when the co-owner of the Utah Jazz took to the basketball court that bears the signature of his late father and became "Undercover Boss."
Going in disguise as Mark Scott, Miller performed in front of 19,000 Jazz fans in Energy Solutions Arena, Salt Lake City, as a member of the Mascot Dunk Team. This group of men entertains with gymnastic flips and stunts. It's the first time an NBA team has been featured on the popular television series.
When he shows up for practice, team leader Matt is encouraging but tells the camera, "Mark walks out on the floor and I didn't know if he was going to be able to run, or jump or anything. ... I was a little bit worried he was going to get hurt."
Going for the dunk
A series of mats and ramps is used to propel the team members into the air and up to dunk height. Mark was instructed to hurdle off one foot and make it to the mat with an emphasis on speed.
Mark couldn't even get onto the ramp his first time, and was quite uncoordinated for the first times. But Matt continues to encourage him to keep practicing although it was like watching a little kid.
"I'm 47 years old. I'm way too old to be doing this," Mark says on the side, but Matt continues to encourage him that the more he practices, the more comfortable he will get.
Matt was impressed: "He stuck with it and he worked hard. He kept running down. He kept falling down and he kept doing it and that's huge right there."
Finally, Mark dunks one. (Not during the game, but at least once.)
Every member to a man had positive energy and wanted to share it with everyone in the group, Mark observes.
Shoes and a T-shirt
Meanwhile, Matt admits none of the team will get rich on the dunk team, but they do get a pair of shoes and sometimes a shirt. His annoyance is the lack of a fixed budget. The team submits one but never hears back if it's approved. There's no point of contact or clarity on the budget, he tells Mark.
Mark has a 16-year-old son and a daughter who lives in Virginia. He doesn't get to spend a lot of time with them.
On game day, Mark connects with the mascot who is sure will recognize him and asks to keep it mum. Going public on the court as someone who is the public face of the team is his biggest risk of being recognized. But he pulls it off.
Despite his failed dunk, he walks off feeling great. "I just met these guys and they make me feel like I've been part of the team for 10 or 15 years. These guys aren't in it for the money. They do it for the love of the game."
VIP game seats
On the reveal, Mark thanks Matt and the team for changing his life forever. He awards Matt a chance to bring his children to a game in a VIP setting to watch them perform. He'll give $10,000 for each child's college education, then invites the rest of the team in and invites their families to watch a game as well from a luxury suite.
Then he gives them a committed $25,000 budget to buy some jerseys and basketballs.
Miller told The Deseret News: "What surprised me was the level of commitment that our employees have in protecting the interests of our family and our business."
As a result, "our family has implemented a new resource that's available to all of our employees throughout the organization that I hope will enrich lives. This show was very consistent with our family, as far as improving the operation and enriching lives. That's really what we spend most of our time doing, so it was a great fit."
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