Remembering my minute with Mark Eaton

Jun 1, 2021, 6:35 PM
Mark Eaton...
Mark Eaton signs his new book at the Jazz 100 Club in the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, March 30, 2018. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — On Friday, former Jazz center Mark Eaton was found unconscious on the side of a road near his home in Summit County after a bicycle accident.

According to the team, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office said that Eaton was taken to a hospital, where he later died. There was no reason to believe a vehicle was involved in the accident, according to ESPN

Eaton was 64. 

But it’s more than just a news story about a distant sports icon to me. I recall meeting Mark Eaton at an odd moment: while broadcasting a story — actually, a “My Minute of News” — outside the arena where the Utah Jazz were about to play in the NBA Playoffs. 

Jeff Caplan’s Mark Eaton story

It happened three years ago. 

I created a “minute of news” about the history of the Utah Jazz. With that minute, I wanted to educate all of the new people moving into Utah that Karl Malone and John Stockton are not just car dealers. 

I went through the team history. You know, like I do. 

Jeff Caplan broadcasts outside Vivint Smart Home Arena (and KSL Broadcast House, which is just across the street) on May 4, 2018. Photo: Jeff Caplan Mark Eaton towers over KSL producer Kira Hoffelmeyer, right, and friend. Photo: KSL NewsRadio Mark Eaton, 7-foot-4, showed off his height at a book signing by posing next to KSL producer Kira Hoffelmeyer, right, and a friend. Photo: KSL NewsRadio

But the moment that minute hit the airwaves, I sat outside Vivint Smart Home Arena just before a playoff game on May 4, 2018. We were broadcasting outside, creating sort of a playoffs party on the station patio. 

I remember this because the tallest guy I’d ever seen just sat down next to me.

Mark Eaton: Humble giant

Mark Eaton crunched his 7-foot-4 frame into our little tent. He put on headphones. As “My Minute of News” was on the air, he’s nodding along and making little comments off-air.

“That’s right. I remember that,” he said, chuckling.

He’s telling me little stories off-air while my minute of news plays.

It was thrilling for me. When I create my “minutes,” I’m usually alone in a room. But here’s Mark Eaton — a Jazz All-Star laughing along and enjoying my work.

There’s no way he would have remembered that time we spent together. But I’ll never forget. That’s the thing about this humble giant. He constantly created moments that people he never met will never forget.

And that is a life well-lived.

Read more: 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories


Friday, February 3 at noon, don't miss a special hour with KSL's BYU Insider Mitch Harper....
Ike Yospe

BYU Big 12 Preview Special

Friday, February 3 at noon, don't miss a special hour with KSL's BYU Insider Mitch Harper.
6 days ago
A group of high school students stand on a basketball court during a free throw. (Amanda Dickson/KS...
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: Is sportsmanship dead in high school basketball?

After a weekend basketball game, it's clear some of our students have a lot of learn when it comes to civility and sportsmanship.
6 days ago
Legendary quarterback Tom Brady has announced his retirement after 23 seasons in the NFL....
Ben Church, CNN

Tom Brady announces retirement: ‘I’m retiring for good’

Tom Brady announces retirement.
6 days ago
utah jazz educator award winners...
Andrew Gordon

Spanish Fork teacher is year’s first Jazz “Most Valuable Educator”

The Jazz "Most Valuable Educator" honor comes with a custom Jazz jersey and $1,000 grant for the winning teacher's classroom.
13 days ago
A fundraising effort has begun to raise $100 million to help redevelop the Ballpark neighborhood of...
Randall Jepson

Council chair weighs in on the future of Smith’s Ballpark

Ballpark Community Council Chair Amy Hawkins sees future green space and a place for people to relax at the site of Smith's Ballpark.
13 days ago
girls play tackle football...
Randall Jeppesen

Girls’ tackle football lawsuit reinstated

Several girls filed a lawsuit in 2017 to get three Utah school districts to create tackle football teams for girls.
21 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Remembering my minute with Mark Eaton