Quick Intro: Utah Jazz Basketball History
There are several great moments and great players in Utah Jazz basketball history. The team originally played in New Orleans (thus their musical name) and called Salt Lake City home since the 1979 season.
The team had had little success since its inception in New Orleans in 1974. Fortunes changed in the 1984 and 1985 drafts when they drafted John Stockton and Karl Malone, respectively, the best tandem in Utah Jazz history. The team added center Mark Eaton, one of the best defensive players in the league and in Utah Jazz history. In the 1988-89 season the team enjoyed its first 50-win season, but failed to advance deep into the post-season, just as it had all decade long.
In 1992, two seasons after moving into their new home, the Delta Center, the team finally made it to the conference finals, for the first time in Utah Jazz history. They were eliminated, however, by the Portland Trailblazers in six games. In the 1996-97 season, with Stockton feeding Malone on pick-and-rolls and after adding a number of complimentary players, the team went 64-18. Stockton nailed a three-point shot at the buzzer to beat the Rockets in game six of the conference finals—perhaps the best highlight in Utah Jazz history—to send the team to the finals to play the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls. The Jazz lost to the Bulls in six games.
The following year the Jazz again marched through the playoffs and met a surging Los Angeles Lakers team in the conference finals, led by Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. They dispatched the Lakers in four games, but again lost to Jordan and the Bulls in the finals.
The early 2000’s, with Malone and Stockton gone, proved to be a challenging period in Utah Jazz history. The team would go on to add such players as Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer later in the decade, causing the team to regain a solid standing in the league. As of 2010 they are one of the league powers.