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Jack Taylor

Mrs. Losch

Speech/Debate Block 4

13 February 2018

Utah Jazz

Worth $850 million, the sixth best winning percentage in the NBA, and holding

the 2nd longest playoff streak. These interesting facts all relate to the beloved NBA team

from Utah, the Jazz. The Utah Jazz are a notable organization consisting of some of the

most interesting elements of basketball. Their storied history, legendary players and

coaches, and energetic fanbase make them a threat in the NBA. Here is a background to

explain the abundant history of the Jazz.

The Jazz’s rich history for almost half of a century. They formed in 1974 not in

Utah, but in New Orleans hence the name the Jazz due to the town’s culture. Their

jerseys back then include a music note for the J which helps define their team. During

their first years as a franchise, they were nowhere near the top of the league and never

made the playoffs in their time in New Orleans. Their best record in New Orleans was

39-43, good enough for 7th best in their conference. While they drew great crowds and

started to build a great fan base, the team was not doing well financially. The Jazz

decided to move their franchise from New Orleans to Salt Lake City, Utah in the 1979-80

NBA season. For their first four seasons in Utah, they were back to unsuccessful woes

from where they were in New Orleans. Luckily, the NBA Draft in 1984 and 1985 would

change the team forever by drafting John Stockton and Karl Malone. Their time in Utah

lasted for 20 years and helped the team never miss the playoffs in their time together
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including a couple number 1 seeds. While the Jazz were able to make the playoffs for 20

seasons straight, they were never able to win an NBA Finals. In the 1997 and 1998

playoffs, the Jazz were able to make the NBA Finals playing in both seasons the

powerhouse Chicago Bulls featuring Michael Jordan. Both NBA Finals were great series,

but the Bulls were too much for the Jazz as both series they won four games to two. After

the departure of John and Karl, the Jazz have continued to rebuild their team to what it

once used to be. Although they are not consistent as they once were, their recent seasons

show they are a highly underrated team ready to return to their success. The history of the

Jazz has been made known through the great players who have come to play there.

Legends have come to play for the Jazz. In 1974 to 1980, Pete Maravich, also

known as “Pistol Pete,” who was known as a scoring machine who averaged 31 points

per game with the Jazz. His efforts were not enough to make the Jazz great however. As

mentioned before, the coming of John Stockton and Karl Malone in 1984 and 1985 made

the Jazz a force to be reckoned with. In their 20 seasons together, they never missed the

playoffs once and they made the finals twice. Their “pick and roll” duo has changed the

way basketball is played forever. While their time together was dominant, they could

never win an NBA Finals. They were close to winning in both ‘97 and ‘98, but Michael

Jordan and the Bulls were too much. At the end of their historic careers, John Stockton

leads the NBA for the most steals (3,265) and assists (15,806) all time while Karl Malone

has the 2nd most points ever (36,928). Malone’s accolades included two MVP awards

(‘97 and ‘99) and 14 All-NBA and All-Star teams while Stockton made 11 All-NBA and

All-Star teams. After their departure, the short stint of Deron Williams proved to be

effective while he helped the team make the Western Conference Finals and making the
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NBA All-Star and All-NBA team twice. After he was traded, the Jazz were in rebuild

mode. It was not until last season they made the playoffs once again thanks to Gordon

Hayward and Rudy Gobert. Today, the Jazz are looking to return to their dominance after

the likes of rookie Donovan Mitchell rising to the occasion with his flashy and score-first

play. Due to the fine players playing for the Jazz, their fan base has always been there to

back them up.

The Utah Jazz fan base has been known to have some of the most passionate and

diehard fans in the NBA. For the past 20 seasons, the Jazz have been top 10 in attendance

for every one of these seasons. An average of 19,500 people go to a Jazz game every

night making the Vivint Smart Home Arena (where they play) one of the loudest places

in the NBA. The Jazz being the only major sports team in Salt Lake City, the state of

Utah comes together to support their team. Their revenue for jerseys and items sold has

doubled in just 5 years ($111 million to $222 million) outlining the financial success the

Jazz have received. The Pink Grandmas, Mori and Yeiko Homma, are an example of fans

who never let go from the Jazz. They sat at their seats about every game “in section 7,

row 12 and 13” and became known “for their distinctive pink jerseys.” Yeiko and Mori

are an example of how dedicated the fans are when it comes to supporting their team.

Even if the Jazz are not doing well, the fans do not stop showing up because of their


The Jazz’s legacy in the NBA has come through its abundant history,

distinguished players, and passionate fan base. They have always been known for

bringing the true spirit of basketball. As the legendary Jazz coach Jerry Sloan once said,
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“Heart is what makes a difference.” The Jazz play this way every night they play which

defines what team they are in the NBA.

Works Cited

Augustyn, Adam. “John Stockton.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 24 January 2016. WEB. 23

February 2018
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Dunn, Logan. “Top 14 ‘Sloanisms.’” DeseretNews. 10 Feb. 2011. WEB. 24 February


ESPN Internet Ventures. “ESPN NBA Attendance.” ESPN. 1998-2018. WEB. 24

February 2018

Goon, Kyle. “Famous 'Pink Grandmas'.” The Salt Lake Tribune. 18 Aug. 2017. WEB. 24

February 2018

Logan, Robert G. “Pete Maravich.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 June 2017. WEB. 22

February 2018

Sports Team History Editors. “Utah Jazz Team History.” Sports Team History, Team

Name Utah Jazz. 21 December 2017. WEB. 22 February 2018.

Statista Editors. “Utah Jazz Revenue 2001-2017.” Statista. 2018. WEB. 24 February 2018

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. “Karl Malone.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 8

February 2018. WEB. 23 February 2018