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The Dart

The student news site of Davis High School

The Dart

The student news site of Davis High School

The Dart

Julia Adams, Journalist • May 15, 2024

The History of the Utah Jazz

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 26, 2017; Lexington, KY, USA; A view of an official Wilson NCAA basketball as it goes through the net in the finals of the Lexington Regional of the women’s 2017 NCAA Tournament at Rupp Arena. Stanford won 76-75. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The history of the Utah Jazz, tracing their footsteps from New Orleans to Salt Lake City and exploring the key moments, remarkable players, and defining eras that have made this team an essential chapter in the rich history of the National Basketball Association.

The Utah Jazz was once the New Orleans Jazz founded in 1974 and after four years of playing the team due to high amusement tax and was moved to Salt Lake City. The team began as one of the least successful teams at the start of their move. After 10 seasons since it was founded did, they qualify to get in the playoffs. They did not miss another playoff until 2004.

Adrien Dantley joined the Utah Jazz in 1979 and showed the true potential that the team had. Another player who did this was Pete Maravich also known as Pistol Pete and Mark Eaton. They helped set up the team to be what it would be in a few decades.

In 1984 John Stockton was selected by the Utah Jazz in the first round of the NBA draft. At the end of his career, he held the record for the most assists in the NBA. Karl Malone, making an average of 25 points per game in his career was drafted only a year after Stockton, and both became one of the most well-known pick and roll duos. They made the Jazz a popular team in the NBA. They were widely known as the greatest NBA duo to never win a championship. We can’t forget coach Jerry Sloan who stayed with the team for ever 20 years, getting them to the playoffs for 15 consecutive years and eventually retired from coaching in 2003.

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After lots of hard work in the 1997-1998 season the Utah Jazz reached the finals. During the 6th game against in the last seconds of the game, Michael Jordan stole the ball from Malone then made a jump shot to win the game, 87–86. That was the closest the Jazz ever got to winning a championship and would’ve made history for the team.

In 2003-2005 the team wasn’t doing well after Stockton and Malone’s retirement. They had several injuries and didn’t make it to the playoffs. In 2005, Carlos Boozer was injured and couldn’t play almost all their games. Deron Williams was drafted but he didn’t play much. In the next season he helped the team start out the season winning 12-1 in their first 13 games.

For the next five years the Jazz wasn’t doing well, and the rebuilding of team began in 2010. Many things happened this season, Gordon Hayward joined the team and Boozer left to play for the Bulls. Other players also left to join other teams. On June 15, 2010, the team released their new logo and color scheme with the return of the music note on the J. Karl Malone enters the hall of fame twice. In 2011 Jerry Sloan leaves his coaching position and had Tyrone Corbin as his replacement.

On June 6, 2014, Quinn Snyder was introduced as the new head coach. The team didn’t get into the 2015-2016 playoffs by one game. The arena was transformed from the Delta Center to The Vivint Smart Home Arena. After long hard work Rudy Gobert and Gordon Hayward both made their mark on the team. Rudy was named NBA Defensive First Team and All NBA Second Team. Gordon was named an NBA all-star.

The next year Hayward left the team to join the Celtics. Donovan Mitchell was drafted by the Denver Nuggets but changed his rights to the Jazz on the same night. Rudy got injured and Mitchell broke the record for 3 pointers from a rookie. They went on to the second round of the playoffs and then lost against the Houston Rockets.

During the next season 2018-2019, they lost to the Houston Rockets again in the first round. In 2019 Jeff Green, Mike Conley Jr., Ed Davis, Bojan Bogdanović, and Emmanuel Mudiay were introduced to the team. During the beginning of this season the team announced they would be hosting the 2023 All Star Game. After the suspension of the season the Jazz was invited to come play at the NBA Bubble. Mitchell scored the third-most points in a single playoff game. The team eventually lost to the Denver Nuggets in Game 7.

On October 28th, 2020, it was announced that the Utah Jazz had been bought out by Ryan Smith, who is originally from Utah and who co-founded Qualtrics. At the time, Smith agreed to abide by the terms of a legacy trust that the Millers (former owners of the team) set up for the Jazz, which included keeping the team in Utah. On April 16th, 2021, it was reported that Dwayne Wade (former basketball player) had bought a minority stake in the Jazz and would have a hand in running the team.

At the 2021 Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell were picked to play in the All-Star Game with Mike Conley as a reserve for Devin Booker who was injured at the time. The selection of three Jazz players to the NBA All-Star Game marked only the second time the franchise had had three players named to the All-Star Game (the others being John Stockton with teammates Karl Malone and Mark Eaton). Jordan Clarkson won the Sixth Man of the Year award at the end of the regular season, making him the first Jazz player to do so. Joe Ingles, another Jazz player, finished as a runner up.

In 2022 both Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert were traded for new players and draft picks. Quin Snyder made his resignation as the Jazz’s head coach official on June 5, 2022. Lauri Markkanen was chosen to make his first-ever All-Star appearance on February 2, 2023, as a reserve in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game. As a result of the injuries to Stephen Curry and Zion Williamson, Markkanen was also declared to have been chosen as an All-Star starter on February 10. Throughout All-Star weekend, Markkanen took part in the Three-Point Contest as well. The Jazz also entered a three-player team in the NBA’s redesigned team skills competition, consisting of Collin Sexton, Walker Kessler, and Jordan Clarkson. In the end, the three Jazzmen emerged victorious. In a trade the Jazz had made that year they acquired Russell Westbrook, but he ultimately wanted

to leave and signed with the Clippers. With a 37-45 record, the Jazz were unable to make the NBA playoffs in 2022–23. Lauri Markkanen won the NBA Most Improved Player Award at the end of the season.

The 2023-2024 preseason has just recently begun, and the Jazz will play their first game of the season on October 25th, 2023, against the Sacramento Kings. They have won 2 out of the 3 preseason games played.

As the 2023-2024 season dawns, the Jazz stand ready for new challenges and opportunities. Their rich history, filled with iconic moments and legendary players, is a testament to the enduring spirit of a team that has made a lasting impact on the NBA. The future is uncertain, but one thing is clear: the Utah Jazz will continue to leave their mark on the league and the hearts of basketball fans.

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About the Contributor
Izzy Martinez
Izzy Martinez, Journalist
Izzy Martinez is a Uruguayan American junior journalist at Davis High School. She loves Taylor Swift, Dr. Pepper, and Anakin Skywalker. She’s thinking about starting a career in Journalism and she wants to take this opportunity for her future career.