- NBA Championships: 0
- Last NBA Championship: N/A
- Claim to Fame: The Jazz made the playoffs every year from 1983-2003.
- Claim to Shame: Trading Dominique Wilkins to the Atlanta Hawks in 1982 order to solve their cash flow problems.
Have you ever wondered why a state famous for its Tabernacle Choir has a professional sports team named the Jazz? You’re not alone!
This incongruously named franchise began its existence in 1974 in New Orleans, where the team’s original owners named it in honor of the city’s signature musical innovation. They went all-in with the theme in those early days, emblazoning their uniforms with musical notes and adopting a fast and loose style that was part art and part basketball. No one epitomized that vibe more than Pete Maravich, who delighted crowds with his no-look passes and ballhandling wizardry.
Although popular with fans, the Jazz had trouble attracting sponsors and moved to Salt Lake City in 1979. It proved to be a wise decision as the team immediately hit the right chord with fans and corporations alike, and made their first of 20-straight playoff appearances in 1984. Much of the team’s success during that period was due to the dynamic duo of John Stockton and Karl Malone, who pick and rolled the league into submission. Stockton would go onto become the NBA’s all-time leader in steals and assists, while Malone would finish second in career points behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
The Jazz returned to the playoffs again in 2018 thanks to the emergence of shooting guard Donovan Mitchell, who exceeded all expectations during his rookie season. The Louisville product averaged 20.5 points and 3.7 assists and guided Utah all the way to the Western Conference Semifinals, where they hung tough against the heavily favored Rockets.
Mitchell is back this season and should get plenty of help from 2018 Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert and the team’s deep and balanced lineup.