The history of the Utah Jazz is an interesting one. For starters the Jazz may not have been the Jazz at all when the team was created! And honestly, how much jazz is there in Salt Lake City?
The Jazz nickname was originally chosen through a name-the-team contest, which produced seven other finalists: Dukes, Crescents, Pilots, Cajuns, Blues, Deltas, and Knights. This team, whatever it was going to be called was going to start in the city of New Orleans in 1974. The Jazz were a brand new expansion team that was started by Sam Battistone, who purchased the team for 6.15$ million dollars. The first player that was added to this team was a man named “Pistol” Pete Maravich. Pistol was an all-star
Caliber player with insane shooting skills and wizard-like handles with the basketball. But Despite this, the New Orleans Jazz were one of the most unsuccessful teams in the entire history of the NBA and The owner Sam Battistone made the decision to move in June of 1979 to Utah.
Utah already had a basketball fanbase from the Salt Lake City Starz, which was an ABA (American Basketball Association) which ended a few years before the move, so Utah likes basketball. And the Jazz found success. I’m going to go past the 80’s which were great years, no finals appearances, but let’s go to the Stockton/Malone glory years. In the 1984 NBA draft the Utah Jazz selected John Stockton with the 16th pick and then the following year in the 85’ draft the selected Karl Malone with the 13th pick. That’s when the Jazz started to become one of the best teams in the NBA. The extraordinary passing of John Stockton and the sheer power of Karl Malone brought the talent together. The thing is to use that talent to good use, that’s why they need a coach who can harness the talent and make an amazing team with it. That man’s name Jerry Sloan. Jerry was one of the best coaches of all time and he was able to get the Utah Jazz squad to the Finals in the years 1997 and 1998. Unfortunately losing to the Chicago Bull Michael Jordan twice. This doesn’t leave the absolute greatness of Stockton and Malone. By the end of their careers, John had become the all-time leader in assists and steals and Karl is only behind Kareem Abdul Jabbar in all-time points. The Jazz left behind a legacy not to be forgotten. Now the modern team is starting to come together like this team.
In 2013, the Denver Nuggets drafted Rudy Gobert with the 27th pick of the first round. They traded him to the Jazz and the rest was history for the “The Stifle Tower”. Rudy is actually a force to be reckoned. Rudy set NBA Draft Combine records for wingspan (7 feet 8½ inches) and standing reach (9 feet 7 inches) in the 2013 combine. These dimensions earned him the nickname “The Stifle Tower.” Rudy didn’t really come all at once for the Jazz in 2013 the Jazz were in rebuilding phase after Trading Deron Williams and Jerry Sloan Retiring three years prior. Rudy Gobert really started playing well in 2015 and the Jazz started finding some potential with Gobert. Gordon Hayward was the star for the Jazz right up until 2017 when he left for free agency. Luckily we found the diamond in the rough like always, through the draft. The Denver Nuggets drafted the young player Donovan Mitchell at pick 13 (same as Karl Malone) and was then traded to the Jazz for Trey Lyles. The Jazz got the Jackpot again with Mitchell with his stellar rookie campaign and now his very impressive 2018 plays with the new Jazz team. Like Jerry Sloan, the Jazz found an amazing coach in Quin Snyder who might seriously be a wizard with all his hand signals, he wins games though. This newest team is the best Jazz team since the glory days of Stockton and Malone and Jazz fans are happy to see that stuff is coming together again. We can’t wait to see wait Mitchell and Gobert can do. Go Jazz!