The 2018-2019 season will be the 40th season that the Jazz have called Utah home. in 1979, Larry H. Miller brought the Jazz to Utah and this team has become a staple in this state. I have asked around and the three answers I hear the most often to the question “what do you think of when you hear the word Utah” are: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, mountains and rock formations, and the Utah Jazz. Utahans love their Jazz.
Here is a commemorative video the organization started circulating a few days ago regarding this milestone:
There have been some great players and memorable teams to don the Jazz colors over the year, wether those colors be blue and purple, green and yellow, or green and copper. Players like Deron Williams who at the peak of his career was neck and neck with Chris Paul in the discussion of who the best PG in the league was. Carlos Boozer who was just .7 points shy of being a 20/10 guy during his time in Utah. Gordon Hayward, before his heartbreaking departure for Boston, was Utah’s sweetheart that all the fans grew to love. We all saw him turn from a tall lanky boy out of college into an all-star heart breaker who had the ability to take over games. We have todays team who has energized the community and the whole state of Utah with a hope for recognition and prestige over every other basketball state in the union. Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert are on contract to be the anchors for this Jazz team through the few years and expectations are high.
Of course you can’t think of the Jazz without thinking about the two players who have been immortalized with statues in front of the Jazz’s Arena in Downtown SLC. John Stockton and Karl Malone. Just hearing those two names makes me think of teamwork, durability, friendship and record holders. John Stockton holds the record of career assists with 15,806 and just to put that record into perspective the next guy with the most assists is Jason Kidd with 12,091. John Stockton has 3,715 more assists than the number two guy, and Stockton played 19 seasons, 4 less than Kidd. Stockton played in 1,482 total games out of the total 1,504 games (that is literally 99% of games played) contained in those 19 seasons. Karl Malone was a two time regular season MVP, two time all-star game MVP and over his career he started a total of 1,471 games out of a total 1,476 possible games in his 19 seasons. He is second on the all time leader board in points at 36,928 and first in free throws attempted and first in makes at 9,787/13,188 (74% career free throw shooter). They led the Jazz to the NBA finals in two consecutive seasons where they ran into the brick wall that was Michael Jordan and his posse of Steve Kerr and Scottie Pippen. They both were on the 1992 olympic dream team and both were inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
I can go on and on about the prominent history the Jazz have and hopefully they continue to add to that prominence.