Jazz’s Backup Center has personality – and a custom $ 330,000 Jeep to match it
What does the Utah Jazz Hassan Whiteside center look like on the pitch?
Donovan Mitchell puts it succinctly: “He’s one of a kind. Hilarious, funny, wacky. We all love his presence, his energy, ”says Mitchell.
He loves the guy.
So take this following quote from Mitchell in the appropriate tone: “I thought I was a child. I really did.
It turns out that Whiteside, the 32-year-old 7-footer, is Jazz’s tallest kid. And, as such, Whiteside has the biggest toy in Jazz.
Meet Big Shirley.
A 2020 Jeep Wrangler Sahara transformed into a massive six-wheeled truck, Big Shirley is a passionate project for the new Jazz Vault. Whiteside bought the car in 2019 when he first joined the Portland Trail Blazers and finally finished work on the juggernaut just a few months ago. He’s got 9,000 miles on it now.
“I’m like a huge Jeep enthusiast,” says Whiteside. “I have two other Jeeps, but they’re not like that. “
It was created by, in the words of Whiteside, “a mix of a bunch of crazy people who did a great job.” Whiteside said four auto modding shops worked on different aspects of the project, including SoFloJeeps and Apocalypse Manufacturing in Florida. America’s Most Wanted installed a Hellcat engine in the 6×6.
In the end, Whiteside estimated that the crews put 1,800 hours of work into its creation.
The all-new Hellcat engine can put out 900 horsepower, Whiteside says, but also has two added cooling modules under the hood. Six huge 40-inch tires touch the curb, along with a Dana 80 axle up front. Stabilizer bars were added on each side and obviously the suspension system was improved.
“Looks like it would be harder to drive, but it’s actually pretty easy,” says Whiteside.
That big engine in a massive vehicle doesn’t get good mileage, as you might have guessed. While Whiteside doesn’t know his specific number of miles per gallon, he did note that he refilled his tank almost every day right after driving to Jazz practices and games. To deal with this problem, he added an additional fuel tank to the machine to increase the total fuel capacity to 34 gallons.
Whiteside also customized the interior, including lowering the seat – “to the floor” to provide a bit more headroom in the relatively small Jeep’s interior.
So what does all this cost? Whiteside estimated that he spent around $ 330,000 on the project from start to finish. He said he felt it was all worth it when it snowed in Salt Lake City last week.
“Ah man, this is where you get your money’s worth.”
One last question, Hassan. Why did you name your truck “Big Shirley”?
He pauses for effect.
“She is tall and beautiful. Like a country mom.