Utah Jazz
Utah Jazz

Utah Jazz

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Utah Jazz Team History

Originally founded in the city of New Orleans as an NBA expansion team in 1974, the franchise was named the Jazz after the vibrant music that originated in the Big Easy. After struggling through their first decade in the league, the team finally made their first playoff appearance in 1984 and continued to have a run of success under Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan and the duo of John Stockton and Karl Malone. The team relocated in 1979 to Salt Lake City, Utah, and became the Utah Jazz. Despite attempts from the New Orleans franchise to reclaim the Jazz name, the Utah Jazz has insisted on keeping the name and its team history.

Utah Jazz Championships

Under the trio of coach Jerry Sloan, point guard John Stockton and forward Karl Malone, the Utah Jazz was one of the most dominant teams of the 1990s. The team would win its first Western Conference Championship Series in 1997 after defeating the Houston Rockets in six games but would ultimately fall to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in a 4-2 NBA Finals loss. The Utah Jazz would repeat as Western Conference Champions the following season by sweeping the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals but would once again find themselves matched up with Jordan and the Bulls, with the Bulls winning the 1998 NBA Finals in six games. The Jazz would win the division title four more times (2000, 2007, 2008, and 2017) since but have never made it back to the NBA Finals.

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Utah Jazz Famous Players and Hall of Famers

Nicknamed “The Mailman,” Karl Malone was one of the most dominant power forwards of his generation. Malone spent the first 18 seasons of his career with the Utah Jazz from 1985 to 2003, leading the team to both of its NBA Finals appearances. Malone would spend his final season with the Los Angeles Lakers looking for his first NBA championship but would see his dreams fall short with the Lakers losing to the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals. During his career with the Jazz, Malone was named the NBA Most Valuable Player twice and earned 14 trips to the NBA All-Star Game, winning All-Star Game MVP honors twice. Malone was also a 14-time All-NBA Team selection, with 11 of those selections coming on the All-NBA First Team. Malone is the Jazz’s all-time points leader with 36,374 regular-season points and an all-time rebounding leader with 14,601 boards. Malone is also second in steals (2,035) and assists (5,085).

Accompanying Malone during the Jazz’s run was John Stockton, one of the top point guards in NBA history. Playing with the Jazz from 1984 to 2003, Stockton was named an NBA All-Star 10 times and a member of the All-NBA Team 11 times. Stockton also led the league in assists nine times during his career and in steals two times. Stockton ranks second in team history in points (19,711), first in assists (15,806) and first in steals (32,65).

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