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Year:
2011
Publisher:
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Pages:
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ISBN 10:
1617831778
ISBN 13:
9781617831775
Series:
Inside the NBA
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utah

jazz

by Brian Howell

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Published by ABDO Publishing Company, 8000 West 78th Street, Edina,
Minnesota 55439. Copyright © 2012 by Abdo Consulting Group, Inc.
International copyrights reserved in all countries. No part of this book may
be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher.
SportsZone™ is a trademark and logo of ABDO Publishing Company.
Printed in the United States of America,
North Mankato, Minnesota
062011
092011

Editor: Chrös McDougall
Copy Editor: Anna Comstock
Series design: Christa Schneider
Cover production: Kazuko Collins
Interior production: Carol Castro
Photo Credits: Colin E Braley/AP Images, cover; Douglas C. Pizac/AP Images,
1, 8, 47; Scott A. Miller/AP Images, 4; Jack Smith/AP Images, 7, 43 (bottom);
Mark J. Terrill/AP Images, 11, 35, 42 (bottom); Jeff Haynes/AFP/Getty Images,
13, 43 (top); AP Images, 14, 42 (top), 19, 20; Charles Kelly/AP Images, 17; Greg
Lehman/AP Images, 23; David Breslauer/AP Images, 24; Richard J. Carson/
AP Images, 26; Mike Powell/Getty Images, 29; Jeff Kida/AP Images, 31, 42
(middle); David J. Phillip/AP Images, 32; Tom Olmscheid/AP Images, 36; Steve
C. Wilson/AP Images, 39, 43 (middle); Jim Urquhart/AP Images, 41; Delcia
Lopez/AP Images, 44
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Howell, Brian, 1974Utah Jazz / by Brian Howell.
p. cm. -- (Inside the NBA)
Includes index.
ISBN 978-1-61783-177-5
1. Utah Jazz (Basketball team)--History--Juvenile literature. I. Title.
GV885.52.U8H68 2012
796.323’6409792258--dc23
2011020547

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Table Of COnTenTs
1 ............. Stockton to Malone, 4
Chapter 2 ............. Jazz in New Orleans, 14
Chapter 3 ............. Moving West, 20
Chapter 4 ............. Joining the Elite, 26
Chapter 5 ............. A New Tune, 36
Chapter

Timeline, 42
Quick Stats, 44
Quotes and Anecdotes, 45
Glossary, 46
For More Information, 47
Index, 48
About the Author, 48

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Chapter

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1

sTOCkTOn
TO MalOne
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“S

tockton to Malone . . . it’s good!”
National Basketball Association
(NBA) broadcasters got used to
saying that phrase during John
Stockton and Karl Malone’s 18 years
together on the Utah Jazz. Together,
they led the team to its best seasons.

Stockton joined the Jazz as

a 6-foot-1 point guard with a

a first-round draft pick in 1984.

pass-first mentality that was

Malone came on as a first-round

unmatched by most players.

draft pick one year later. The

In 2009, he was inducted into

Jazz made the playoffs during

the Naismith Memorial Bas-

all 18 seasons that both Stockton

ketball Hall of Fame. Stockton

and Malone were on the team.

finished his remarkable career

Individually, the two were

with more steals (3,265) and

great players. Stockton was

assists (15,806) than any player

Jazz power forward Karl Malone (32) goes for a rebound while point guard
John Stockton, right, watches during a 1987 game.

Stockton to Malone

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awesome Duo
John Stockton and Karl
Malone came from very different
backgrounds. Stockton grew up in
Spokane, Washington, and stayed
there to play his college ball at Gonzaga University. Malone, on the other
hand, grew up across the country in
Louisiana and starred at Louisiana

in

professional

basketball

history.
There was nothing flashy
about Stockton’s game. He
just simply got the job done.
“He’s the best,” former NBA
star point guard Gary Payton
once said. “When I came into
the league, he was the guy

Tech University. But the two had

who took me to school. I’m still

instant chemistry on the court when

looking for a weakness in his

they became teammates in the NBA.

game.”

It worked wonders for nearly two
decades.
During their 18 years together,

Malone was a 6-foot-9
power forward who could score
and rebound like few other

a countless number of Malone’s

players in NBA history. He

points came from Stockton’s

joined Stockton in the Hall of

assists. With Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan

Fame in 2010. Malone retired

as their coach, Stockton and Malone

as the second-leading scorer

made the pick-and-roll a lethal part

in league history, with 36,928

of their game. A pick-and-roll is a
designed play where one player sets
a pick for another. Then, he rolls to an
open spot on the floor and looks for a
pass from the other player so he can
score a basket..

total

points.

And

through

2010–11, only five players in
history have grabbed more
rebounds than his 14,968.
Malone was also named the
NBA’s Most Valuable Player
(MVP) twice.

6

utah jazz

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Coach Jerry Sloan was the third cornerstone, along with John Stockton
and Karl Malone, during the Jazz’s run of success in the 1990s.

While
opponents

Stockton
with

fundamentals,

beat

tremendous

Malone

over-

powered his opponents with
physical strength. He carried
a muscular 250 pounds on his
large frame. “He runs the court
like a small man, then overpowers bigger people,” longtime

All-Time Greats
In 1996, the NBA named its 50
greatest players of all time. Karl
Malone and John Stockton were
both included on that list. Malone
and Stockton were also members
of the Dream Team. That was the
nickname for the 1992 US men’s
basketball team that won an OlymOlympic gold medal in Barcelona, Spain.

Stockton to Malone

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8

utah jazz

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Sharing the Moment
Karl Malone and John Stockton
combined for 24 All-Star Game
appearances. The 1993 game was
one of their best. Played in front of
their home fans in Salt Lake City,
Utah, Malone and Stockton both
starred in helping the Western ConConference team win. At the end of the
game, they were named co-MVPs.
“If you wrote a movie, that’s how it
would end,” Malone said.

NBA coach Don Nelson said
early in Malone’s career. “Is
there a more dominant power
forward in the game today? If
there is, I’d like to see him.”
Stockton and Malone were
the Jazz’s superstars from the
mid-1980s through the early
2000s. Coach Jerry Sloan was
the other standard for the
Jazz during those years. The
respected coach was at the helm
from the start of the 1988–89
season until midway through

the 2010–11 season. With those
three cornerstones in place, the
Jazz reached their peak during
the 1996–97 and 1997–98 NBA
seasons.
Although

he

was

get-

ting older, Malone had one of
his best seasons in 1996–97.
The 33-year-old was voted as
the NBA’s MVP that season
after averaging 27.4 points,
9.9 rebounds, and 4.5 assists
per game. Stockton was brilliant, too. And shooting guard
Jeff Hornacek provided Utah
a great spark on offense. Two
newcomers

to

the

starting

lineup—26-year-old

forward

Bryon Russell and 23-year-old
center

Greg

Ostertag—per-

formed well, too. That group,
coached by Sloan, took the Jazz
to a place they had never been
before: the NBA Finals.

NBa MVp Karl Malone goes for a basket during Game 5 of the 1997 Finals.
he averaged 27.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game that season.
Stockton to Malone

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9
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Waiting for the Jazz in the

and another Midwest Division

Finals were the defending NBA

championship the next season.

champion Chicago Bulls. Led

After taking out the Houston

by superstar Michael Jordan,

Rockets in the first round of

the Bulls had dominated that

the playoffs, the Jazz breezed

season and breezed through the

through the San Antonio Spurs

playoffs.

and the Los Angeles Lakers in

But Utah gave the Bulls
fits in the Finals. The series was

the following rounds to get back
to the NBA Finals.

tied at two games each after

Once again, Jordan and

Game 4. In Game 5, the Bulls

the Bulls were waiting. The

needed a heroic effort from

Bulls of the late-1990s were one

Jordan, including a big three-

of the most dominant teams in

pointer in the closing seconds,

NBA history. Behind Jordan

to beat the Jazz 90–88. Then

and teammate Scottie Pippen,

in Game 6, Utah had the game

the Bulls had won five NBA

tied at 86–86 in the final sec-

championships between 1991

onds before the Bulls scored the

and 1997. Many favored them

final four points to win 90–86.

to win their sixth—and third in

In the end, the Bulls won the

a row—in 1997–98. However,

championship four games to

others were sick of the Bulls.

two.

They wanted to see Stockton,
“We played our hearts out

Malone, Sloan, and the Jazz

and just came up a little bit

take home the franchise’s first

short,” Sloan said.

NBA title.

Utah was not finished,

The 1998 Finals were just

though. The Jazz won 62 games

as close as the 1997 Finals. The

10

utah jazz

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Jazz guard Jeff hornacek, right , guards Chicago Bulls superstar Michael
Jordan during Game 2 of the 1998 NBa Finals.

Jazz opened the series with an

the next two games at home,

88–85 overtime victory at home

including a 96–54 drubbing in

in the Delta Center. Stockton

Game 3. That was the largest

led the Jazz with 24 points,

loss in NBA Finals history.

including seven in overtime.

But the Jazz still had more

But the Jazz had come into the

fight in them. With the series

series with much more time off

on the line, Malone scored

than the Bulls. Two days later,

39 points and grabbed nine

a better-rested Bulls squad

rebounds to lead Utah to an

won 93–88. Chicago then took

83–81 win. Then, back in Utah

Stockton to Malone

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for Game 6, the Jazz held an
86–85 lead in the final seconds.
It appeared that the series
would go to a decisive Game 7.
But it was not to be. In the final
seconds of what many figured
would be his final game ever,
Jordan drained a remarkable
jumper to give the Bulls their
sixth title in eight years.
“We’ve been close the last
two years,” Hornacek said. “We
want to come back and take one
more chance at it.”
Unfortunately for the Jazz,
that was the closest they would
come to an NBA championship
through the 2010–11 season.
Hornacek

played

two

more

years. Stockton and Malone
played

five

more

together.

Although Malone was the NBA
MVP again in 1998–99, the

Friends for Life
The chemistry between John
Stockton and Karl Malone was not
limited to the basketball court. The
two became close friends over the
years. “He is like one of my older
brothers to me, and not because
he gives me the ball on the break,”
Malone once said. “Mess with
Stockton and you mess with me.”
Stockton felt the same way. “He’s
a great friend of mine,” Stockton
said in 2003 after he retired. “And
I’m thankful we were part of each
other’s families.”

NBA Finals. In fact, they never
even got back to the Western
Conference finals.
Since the franchise began
in New Orleans, Louisiana, the
Jazz never has won a championship through the 2010–11
season. The 1997 and 1998 Jazz
teams provided some great
moments for their fans, though.

group never got back to the

Jazz point guard John Stockton drives past a Chicago Bulls defender during
the 1998 NBa Finals.

12

utah jazz

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Stockton to Malone

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13
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Chapter

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2

jazz in
new Orleans
5/27/11 4:54 PM

I

n March 1974, the NBA decided to expand.
The 17-team league picked New Orleans,
Louisiana, to be the home of the 18th team.

Sam Battistone and Fred

gold, and green—were selected

Rosenfeld led a nine-man group

to signify the importance of

that paid $6.15 million for the

Mardi Gras to the city.

franchise. After a contest to

“Jazz is one of those things

name the team, the owners

for which New Orleans is

decided to call it the Jazz.

nationally famous and locally

The team name and logo were

proud,” Rosenfeld said. “It is a

selected to honor the rich tra-

great art form which belongs

dition of jazz music in New

to New Orleans and its rich

Orleans. The logo featured the

history. As for the tradition

“J” from Jazz as a musical note.

of Mardi Gras, the three col-

And the team colors—purple,

ors are emblematic: purple for

Jazz guard “pistol pete” Maravich drives for the hoop during a 1979 game.
he was the team’s first player.

jazz in new orleanS

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Pistol Pete
Pete Maravich was an All-Star
and a Hall of Fame NBA player. He
also might have been the best college player ever. At Louisiana State
University, where his father was the
coach, “Pistol Pete” averaged an
astonishing 44.2 points per game.
He was known for his great showmanship on the court.
The Atlanta Hawks selected the

justice, green for faith, gold for
power.”
The first player in Jazz
team

history

was

guard

“Pistol Pete” Maravich. He
had starred at Louisiana State
University, which is located
about 80 miles (129 km) from
New

Orleans,

until

1970.

He was then drafted by the
Atlanta Hawks and became

6-foot-5 guard with the third pick in

an All-Star. The Jazz traded

the 1970 NBA Draft. He struggled to

for Maravich on May 3, 1974.

fit in with the Hawks, though. Many

Maravich was not only

of his older teammates did not like

the first player in team his-

his style—or his big contract. Still,

tory; he also quickly became

Maravich was a standout player when

the Jazz’s first star. In 5 1/2

the Jazz traded for him in 1974. He

seasons with the team, Mara-

reached his peak with the Jazz, mak-

vich averaged 25.2 points per

ing the All-Star game three times in

game. He was also the first

five years and leading the league with
31.1 points per game in 1976–77.
The Jazz waived Maravich in 1980. In
1988, at the age of 40, he died after
suffering a heart attack while playing
a pick-up basketball game.

Jazz player to be named to the
All-NBA first team. In fact,
he had that honor in 1975–76
and 1976–77.
The 6-foot-5 Maravich did
not lack in confidence. “When
I’m on, nobody can stop me,”

16

utah jazz

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the Jazz’s pete Maravich cuts through three atlanta hawks defenders
during a 1975 game in atlanta.

he said. “I can do anything on
the court I want.”

The Jazz played at Municipal Auditorium and Loyola

Maravich proved that with

Field House during that first

a great season in 1974–75. He

season. Before their second sea-

scored 21.5 points per game

son, the Louisiana Superdome

in the Jazz’s first season. But

opened in New Orleans. The

as a team, the Jazz struggled.

Superdome was built at a cost

They won just six of their first

of more than $160 million. It

50 games. Coach Scotty Rob-

was built for the New Orleans

ertson was let go after the Jazz

Saints of the National Football

started 1–14. Under new coach

League, the Tulane University

Bill Van Breda Kolff, the Jazz

football team, and the Jazz.

played better down the stretch,
winning 17 of their last 32.

The Jazz got off to a great
start in the Superdome. They

jazz in new orleanS

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Trucking Along
Len “Truck” Robinson produced one
of the greatest single-season perfor
perfor-mances in Jazz history. He joined the
Jazz for the 1977–78 season, during
which he averaged 22.7 points and
a career-high 15.7 rebounds per
game. He was named to the All-NBA
first team for his efforts. The next
season, Robinson was averaging
24.2 points and 13.4 rebounds per
game when the Jazz traded him to
the Phoenix Suns.

won their first five games in

out 13–1. In a few weeks, we
were 13–10.”
Sure enough, after that win
the Jazz lost six in a row and
15 of their next 17 games. They
finished with another losing
record that season. One bright
spot, however, was Maravich.
The future Hall of Fame player
averaged 25.6 points per game
during that second season.
The

Jazz

tried

to

get

their new home. On November 5,

Maravich some help in 1976

1975, the Jazz defeated the

when they traded for guard

Los Angeles Lakers 113–110

Gail Goodrich, who was a five-

in front of 26,511 fans. At the

time All-Star. Like Maravich,

time, that was the NBA record

Goodrich was also one of the

for attendance at a game. And

NBA’s top scorers.

that win gave the Jazz an NBAbest record of 6–1.

“He’s a great shooter and
I’m going to get the ball to

Center Otto Moore knew

him,” Maravich said. “He’s also

it was too early to celebrate,

going to make me better. When

though. “I don’t do any extra

he’s on, he’s going to be double-

jumping up or down or get

teamed, and that will leave me

excited,” he said. “I remember

open.”

one year in Detroit we started

Unfortunately for the Jazz,
Goodrich missed most of that

18

utah jazz

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Jazz guard Gail Goodrich drives around Buffalo Braves defender Marvin
Barnes during a 1978 game.

first year with an injury. In all,

moments here and there. But

he played only three seasons

the Jazz never got to the play-

with the Jazz. As promised,

offs or posted a winning record

though, Goodrich and Maravich

during that time. After a few

were a tough duo to stop.

seasons they also struggled to

But as good as Maravich

attract fans and make money.

and Goodrich were, the Jazz

So at the end of their fifth

struggled with them on the

season, the Jazz moved to Salt

roster. The first five seasons

Lake City, Utah.

of Jazz history provided great

jazz in new orleanS

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Chapter

ABD_NBA_UTA_FPGS.indd 20

3

MOving wesT

5/27/11 4:54 PM

T

he Jazz had spent five seasons in New
Orleans. Jazz co-owner Sam Battistone
said the owners did not want to move,
but they could no longer make it work
in New Orleans. So the owners moved
the team to Salt Lake City during the
summer of 1979.
strongly

Utah had a brief history

that the city of Salt Lake and

of professional basketball. In

the state of Utah can support

1970, the Los Angeles Stars of

the team,” he said. NBA com-

the American Basketball Asso-

missioner Lawrence O’Brien

ciation (ABA) moved to Utah

agreed. “Salt Lake is a hotbed

and became the Utah Stars. The

of interest for basketball,” he

Stars had great success. They

said.

won the ABA championship in

“We

feel

very

Jazz guard Darrell Griffith rises in the air for a f lying hook shot during a
1981 game against the Indiana pacers.

Moving weSt

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End of an Era
On January 17, 1980, the Jazz said
good-bye to their first player and
first star, Pete Maravich. Coming
back from a serious knee injury,
Maravich played in just 17 games
for Utah in 1979–80. Although
Maravich was only 32 years old, he
was not the same player after the
injury. Since the Jazz were trying to
rebuild their roster, they decided
they needed to move on without
Maravich. After being released
by Utah, Maravich signed with the
Boston Celtics. He finished out the
season in Boston and then retired.
The Jazz later retired his No. 7 jersey.

1971, finished as runner-up in
1974, and won three division
titles in five years.

With the Jazz moving west,
professional basketball finally
returned to Salt Lake City.
However, the change of scenery
did not help the Jazz. After five
losing seasons in New Orleans,
the Jazz continued their losing
ways in Utah.
During each of their first
four seasons in Utah, the Jazz
finished at or near the bottom
of the Midwest Division. But
while the losing continued,
the Utah Jazz were building a
stronger team.
The Jazz had hired Frank
Layden as general manager

Although they had great

upon moving to Utah. He

fan support at the Salt Palace,

spent the first several seasons

the Stars folded during the

overhauling the team’s roster.

1975–76 season. At the end of

Layden added key players in

that season, the ABA folded

Allan Bristow and Ron Boone.

too, although four ABA teams

He also traded for forward/

joined the NBA. The league fea-

guard Adrian Dantley, who

tured many great players, but it

became Utah’s next great star.

did not have as much national
popularity as the NBA.

22

Dantley had a strange
beginning to his NBA career.

utah jazz

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emerging Jazz star guard Darrell Griffith throws down a dunk for two of
his 28 points during a 1983 win over the Seattle SuperSonics.

He was the NBA’s Rookie of the

Lakers’ best players for a year

Year with the Buffalo Braves,

and a half, he was traded to the

but was traded to the Indiana

Jazz before the 1979–80 season.

Pacers after the season. Early

“He’s a great player and

in his second season, he was the

we worked hard to get him,”

NBA’s second-leading scorer

Layden

while playing for the Pacers.

teams made serious mistakes

But he played only 23 games

about him.”

with

Indiana

before

being

said.

Layden’s

“Three

focus

other

was

on

traded to the Los Angeles Lak-

building a team full of winners.

ers. Then, after being one of the

Dantley was the type of player

Moving weSt

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23
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the Jazz’s rickey Green leaps into the air as he sets up a shot during a
1982 game against the Dallas Mavericks.

Dantley’s Brilliance
In seven seasons with the Jazz,
Adrian Dantley made the All-Star
team six times. In four of those
seasons, he averaged more than
30 points per game. The top player
during Utah’s first winning season,
1983–84, Dantley’s jersey No. 4 was
retired by the team in 2007. Dantley
was inducted into the Hall of Fame
in 2008.

he wanted. “Right after he got
to Salt Lake City a rumor went
around that we were thinking of

24

trading him, so I went to Adrian
and told him there’s no way
we’d trade him,” Layden said.
“We want Adrian Dantley to
finish his career here.”
Layden kept his promise—
at least for a while. Dantley was
traded to the Detroit Pistons in
1986. But before that, he played
seven seasons with the Jazz
and became one of the greatest
players in team history.

utah jazz

ABD_NBA_UTA_FPGS.indd 24

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Dantley averaged 28 points

A Bad Deal

per game during his first season
with the Jazz. He scored more
than 30 points per game in each
of the four years after that.
Even with Dantley, however, success did not come right
away for the Jazz. They struggled for four years. But amid
the struggles, the Jazz built
the foundation for a successful
future.
Layden fired coach Tom
Nissalke and took over as coach
20 games into the 1981–82 season. But he kept the title of
general manager, which meant
that in addition to coaching the
team, he also built the roster.
Over time, Layden and the
Jazz added winning pieces to
the puzzle. They drafted guard
Darrell Griffith and signed
point guard Rickey Green in
1980. In 1982, they acquired
talented veteran forward John
Drew in a trade, and they took

The Jazz used the third overall pick in
the 1982 NBA Draft to select Uni
Uni-versity of Georgia star Dominique
Wilkins. But before Wilkins ever
suited up for them, the Jazz traded
him to the Atlanta Hawks for John
Drew, Freeman Williams, and cash.
Drew played only 2 1/2 seasons in
Utah before being suspended for
life by the NBA due to violating the
league’s substance abuse policy.
And Williams played just 18 games
in Utah before being released.
Wilkins, meanwhile, was a nine-time
All-Star during his 15-year career.
As of 2011, he was the 11th-highest
scorer in NBA history.

Mark Eaton, a 7-foot-4 center,
in the draft. The next year, the
Jazz took forward Thurl Bailey
in the 1983 draft.
The first nine years of Jazz
history were filled with a lot of
losses and a lot of change. But
as the Jazz prepared for the
1983–84 season, they believed
that the pieces they had in place
would finally create a winning
formula.

Moving weSt

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4

jOining The eliTe

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C

onsidering the Jazz had never posted
a winning record, most people had low
expectations for the team going into
the 1983–84 season. It was evident early
in the season, however, that Utah was
finally a good team.

“Before the season, many
people

had

serious

doubts

about our players,” coach Frank
Layden said after his team
improved to 22–12. “Now we’ve
shown that we’re a much better team than we were given
credit for, and everyone’s getting his just desserts. People

Golden Griff
On December 4, 1993, Darrell Griffith
became the second player in Jazz
history to have his jersey—No. 35—
retired by the club. He is the only
player in team history to be named
NBA Rookie of the Year, which
occurred in 1980–81. Griffith played
his entire 10-year professional
career in Utah, averaging 16.2 points
per game.

Jazz forward adrian Dantley goes up for a contested layup during a 1985
playoff game against the houston rockets.

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finally have to seriously ask
things like, ‘Isn’t Rickey Green
one of the best point guards in
the league?’”
The answer to that was,
“Yes.” Green did play like one
of the best point guards in the
league. Adrian Dantley and
Darrell Griffith played like AllStars, too. In addition to those
three, John Drew was one of

Tall Order
From 1982 to 1993, 7-foot-4 center
Mark Eaton was penciled into the
starting lineup almost every game.
A great defensive player, Eaton
was 25 years old when he finished
college and entered the NBA. He was
older than most rookies because
after high school, he went to a trade
school and worked at a tire store for
three years. Eventually, however, he
was talked into enrolling in college
and again playing basketball.

the best reserves in the league,

Nuggets in the first round. The

Mark Eaton was one of the best

Jazz finally fell to the Phoenix

defensive centers in the league,

Suns in the playoffs’ second

and Thurl Bailey was one of the

round. After that remarkable

best rookies in the league.

season, Layden was named the

With talent like that, Utah

NBA’s Coach of the Year.

finally put a winning product

“I’m very proud and very

on the floor. In 1983–84, the

happy for this team,” Layden

Jazz had a lot of firsts. They

said. “They have been criti-

had their first winning season,

cized, but they have played well

going 45–37. They won their

this season.”

first

division

championship.

The 1983–84 season was

They made the playoffs for the

the start of a new standard of

first time ever. And they even

success for the Utah Jazz. After

won a playoff series for the first

so many years of losing, the Jazz

time, knocking out the Denver

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Jazz center Mark eaton, left , and Los angeles Lakers big man Kareem
abdul-Jabbar take a break during a 1988 game.

finally learned how to win. And

the Jazz to the second round

once they learned how to win,

three of those times. It was an

they did not forget. That sea-

especially impressive feat con-

son was the first of 20 straight

sidering the Jazz lost a couple

playoff seasons for the Jazz.

of their best players during that

In 27 seasons from 1983–84 to

time.

2009–10, Utah made the play-

Dantley, who was one of

offs 24 times and had a .500

the first greats in team his-

record or better 26 times.

tory, helped the Jazz reach the

Layden led Utah to its first

playoffs three times. Following

five playoff appearances. He got

the 1985–86 season, however,

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he was traded to the Detroit

life because of his repeated

Pistons. The star player and

problems with substance abuse.

coach Layden did not get along.

While the Jazz lost Dant-

In return, the Jazz got Kelly

ley and Drew, they also added

Tripucka. He had made two All-

two other important players.

Star teams and averaged more

In the first round of the 1984

than 20 points per game in five

NBA Draft, Utah selected point

seasons with Detroit. Tripucka

guard John Stockton from Gon-

never matched that produc-

zaga University. The next year,

tion in two years with the Jazz,

the Jazz drafted Louisiana Tech

though.

power forward Karl Malone.

The Jazz also lost Drew. A

Adding those two young-

valuable scorer off the bench,

sters proved to be monumental

Drew gave the Jazz a lift for

for the Jazz. During his first

two years. But his career ended

three years in the NBA, Stock-

early in the 1984–85 season.

ton was a backup to Green.

The NBA suspended Drew for

The two of them formed a tremendous duo at point guard.

Key Contributor
Thurl Bailey never won any NBA
awards or earned a trip to an AllStar Game. But he was an unsung
hero for the Jazz. He played parts of
10 seasons in Utah, mostly coming
off the bench. He averaged 14 points
and 5.5 rebounds per game for the
Jazz. And twice he posted more than
19 points per game.

30

Malone stepped into the starting lineup as a rookie and
quickly established himself as
a strong player.
In the 1987–88 season,
Malone, Stockton, and Bailey—
all under the age of 27—led
the Jazz. They had all established themselves as individual

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the Jazz’s Karl Malone defends against the phoenix Suns’ tom Chambers
during a 1990 playoff game.

stars, but they also played well

had on the court, Layden was

together. Teaming the young-

worn out. Just 17 games into

sters with veterans such as

the 1988–89 season, he quit as

guard Griffith, center Eaton,

coach and general manager,

and guard Green, Utah won 47

taking a new position as team

games. The Jazz also advanced

president.

to the second round of the
playoffs.

“The game totally consumes you,” said Layden, who

The future looked bright

was 56 years old at the time.

for Utah and Layden. But

“You are no longer in charge of

despite all the success the Jazz

your life.”

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Jazz point guard John Stockton fires a pass as he dives between two
houston rockets defenders during the 1994 Western Conference finals.

One of the reasons Layden

While players were sad to

quit was that he was tired of

see Layden go, his replacement

the verbal abuse he took from

was ready to take charge. Jazz

fans. His decision to leave sur-

assistant coach Jerry Sloan

prised the team. “Frank is one

was appointed as the new head

of the greatest coaches and

coach. “You’re not going to find

motivators in the game, and he

a guy who works harder than

just hangs it up,” Malone said.

Jerry Sloan,” Layden said.

“I already miss him. I dedicate
the rest of my career to him.”

32

Sloan showed his work
ethic during his Hall of Fame

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coaching career. Before retiring
midway through the 2010–11
season, Sloan led the Jazz to 19
playoff appearances in 22 seasons. He won more than 1,100
games as the team’s head coach.
Led mainly by Malone and
Stockton, and guided by coach
Sloan, the Jazz became one
of the NBA’s best teams. In
1992, 1994, and 1996, the Jazz
reached the Western Conference finals.
As the 1996–97 NBA season
got underway, many considered
Utah to be a good team, but not
great. Sports Illustrated picked
them to finish third in the Midwest Division, behind the San
Antonio Spurs and the Houston
Rockets.
Malone

and

Stockton

were getting older. Both were
in their mid-30s that season.
And another key player, Jeff
Hornacek, turned 34 that postseason. Although the Jazz had

Quite a Shot
Throughout his NBA career, shootshooting guard Jeff Hornacek was one of
the best shooters in the league. In
14 seasons, he made 49.6 percent
of his shots and scored 14.5 points
per game. With the Jazz from 1994
to 2000, Hornacek was an impor
impor-tant part of the offense. He helped
lead Utah to seven straight playoff
appearances. In 2002, the Jazz
retired his No. 14 jersey.

been to the Western Conference
finals three times in the previous five seasons, some did not
think they had it in them to
make another deep playoff run.
Houston, as many figured,
was very good. The Rockets
won 57 games that season. San
Antonio, on the other hand, lost
star player David Robinson to a
season-ending injury six games
into the season. The Spurs won
just 20 games. The Jazz turned
out to be much better than what
some figured. Behind Malone’s
MVP season, the Jazz had the

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best record in the Western Con-

“I took the shot and it felt

ference at 64–18. Then they

good,” Stockton said after the

marched back to the Western

game. “I don’t know how to

Conference finals, losing only

explain it; it just felt good.”

one game in the process.

“They’re no fluke; they’re

To get to their first Finals,

the real deal,” Rockets coach

the Jazz had to beat the strong

Rudy Tomjanovich said. “They

Rockets team. Utah got off to a

have a chance to win the cham-

good start, taking a two-games-

pionship, and I’ll root for those

to-one lead. But the Rockets

guys in the finals.”

came back to win Game 4.

Unfortunately for the Jazz,

The Jazz took a 3–2 lead

Michael Jordan and the Bulls

by winning Game 5. Then, in

were no fluke either. They beat

Game 6, the Jazz trailed by

the Jazz four games to two in

seven points in the closing min-

the Finals. Utah had another

utes. But they battled back to

chance in 1997–98, but Jordan

tie the game. Then, Stockton

and the Bulls again dispatched

drained a game-winning three-

them in the NBA Finals. There

pointer at the buzzer. Utah won

was hope that the Jazz could

the game, 103–100. They were

take the next step in 1998–99,

headed for the NBA Finals,

but it was not to be. Soon, a new

where they would face the Chi-

generation of Jazz players would

cago Bulls.

have to try to win the team its
first NBA championship.

Karl Malone of the Jazz dunks the ball over a Chicago Bulls defender
during Game 2 of the 1998 NBA Finals.

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Chapter

ABD_NBA_UTA_FPGS.indd 36

5

a new Tune

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F

ollowing the 2002–03 season, the Utah
Jazz went through some drastic changes.
Future Hall of Fame point guard John
Stockton retired and future Hall of Fame
power forward Karl Malone signed with
the often-dominant Los Angeles Lakers
in search of an NBA title. He played just
one season with the Lakers—and failed
to win a title—before retiring.

For the first time in nearly

the playoffs for a 21st straight

two decades, the Jazz did not

season. Utah’s playoff streak

have

Malone

did end, but barely. The Jazz

leading the way. It was also the

finished 42–40. That was just

first time in years that the Jazz

one game behind the Denver

had to deal with low expecta-

Nuggets, who clinched the final

tions. Few people thought the

playoff spot in the Western

Jazz would be able to get to

Conference.

Stockton

and

John Stockton, bottom , secures the ball while Karl Malone, top , looks on
during a 2003 game against the Minnesota timberwolves. the 2002–03
season was Stockton and Malone’s last with the Jazz.
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The Stopper
Although the Jazz missed the playplayoffs three years in a row, from 2004
to 2006, forward Andrei Kirilenko
made a name for himself as one of
the league’s best defensive players.
He made the NBA’s All-Defensive
first team in 2005–06 after two
years making the second team. He
made the All-Star team in 2004. And
in 2005–06, Kirilenko led the NBA
with 220 blocks.

There was no Stockton or
Malone, but the Jazz still had
Jerry Sloan as a coach. And he
did as much as he could with
the new players Utah had.
“The fun part of coming to
work every day for me is finding a way to win with the guys
we have,” Sloan said. “Physically we may be over-matched,
but you can still play basketball
if you do it as a group.”
Utah took its expected dive
the next year, winning just 26
games. Then in 2005–06, the
Jazz missed the playoffs for

38

the third straight year, going
41–41. During those seasons,
the Jazz were building for the
future.
Forward Andrei Kirilenko
had been a role player during
Stockton and Malone’s last two
years together. He developed
into a team leader when the
legends retired. In addition, the
Jazz signed free agent big men
Carlos Boozer and Mehmet
Okur in 2004. They gave the
Jazz some much-needed muscle
near the basket.
The next year, the Jazz
drafted point guard Deron Williams with the third pick in the
2005 draft. He might have been
the most important player the
Jazz added during the postStockton-and-Malone era.
During Williams’s rookie
season in 2005–06, the Jazz
won 15 more games than they
had the previous year. The next
year, he helped Utah win 51

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teammates Carlos Boozer, left , and andrei Kirilenko gave the Jazz a
strong inside presence together from 2004 to 2010.

games and return to the playoffs for the first time in four
years. The Jazz did not just get
to the playoffs, though. They
made it all the way to the conference finals before losing to
the San Antonio Spurs.
Through the 2009–10 season, the Jazz never posted a
losing record with Williams.
They made the playoffs four

Shades of Malone
When the Jazz signed Carlos Boozer
in 2004, they knew they were getting
one of the best power forwards in
the NBA—much like Karl Malone had
been for nearly two decades in Utah.
Boozer played six seasons for the
Jazz, from 2004 to 2010. Although he
missed a lot of games due to injuinjuries, he was a dominant player when
he was healthy. He made the All-Star
team two times with Utah, in 2007
and 2008. In the summer of 2010, he
signed with the Chicago Bulls.

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sloan’s history
In 2010–11, Jerry Sloan began
his 23rd season as the head coach of
the Utah Jazz. And it would be his last.
Sloan stepped down midway through
the season, saying he had lost the
energy to coach. Through 2010–11,
his 1,221 career wins were third all
time among NBA coaches.
Sloan spent more than 45 years

years in a row, from 2007 to
2010. Williams had finished
second or third in the league
in assists every year from 2007
to 2010, and he made his first
All-Star game in 2010.
The

optimism

among

Jazz fans abruptly faded during 2010–11, though. Boozer
had left as a free agent before

in the NBA. He was an original mem-

that season. Then on Febru-

ber of the Chicago Bulls and played

ary 10, Sloan stepped down

10 seasons with them. He made two

as coach after 23 seasons. He

All-Star teams and later became the

had been the longest-serving

first player in team history to have

NBA coach by far at the time.

his jersey number retired. Sloan later

Yet another devastating blow

became a scout, assistant coach, and

followed. On February 23, the

then head coach of the Bulls. In 1983,

Jazz traded Williams to the

the Jazz hired him as a scout. He then

New Jersey Nets.

worked four years as an assistant
coach with the Jazz before becoming
their head coach on December 9,
1988. When Sloan retired, the next
longest-serving coach was the San
Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich, who
was hired December 10, 1996.

Suddenly, the once-promising team was starting over.
The Jazz received talented
young forward Derrick Favors,
point guard Devin Harris, and
a first-round pick in the Williams trade. They combined
with forwards Al Jefferson,

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Forward paul Millsap is one of the players the Jazz are counting on to
bring them back into contention in the Western Conference.

Kirilenko, and Paul Millsap

The team then rebuilt that tra-

to form the foundation of the

dition behind Sloan, Kirilenko,

new-look Jazz. However, Utah

and Williams. But Jazz fans

missed the playoffs for the first

are hoping the next generation

time since 2005–06.

can finally lead the team to the

After a rocky start to franchise history, the Jazz built

one thing that has eluded it—
the NBA title.

a winning tradition behind
Sloan, Stockton, and Malone.

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TiMeline
1974
1979
1984
1984
1985
1987
1988
1992
1997

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1998
2003
2003
2004
2005
2007
2009
2010
2011

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QuiCk sTaTs
KEy PLAyErS
(position[s]; seasons with team)

FrANCHISE HISTOry
New Orleans Jazz (1974–79)
Utah Jazz (1979– )

NBA FINALS
(wins in bold)
1997, 1998

CONFErENCE FINALS
1992, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2007

DIvISION CHAMPIONSHIPS
1984, 1989, 1992, 1997, 1998, 2000,
2007, 2008

Thurl Bailey (F-C; 1983–92; 1999)
Carlos Boozer (F; 2004–10)
Adrian Dantley (F-G; 1979–86)
Mark Eaton (C; 1982–93)
Rickey Green (G; 1980–88)
Darrell Griffith (G; 1980–85,
1986–91)
Jeff Hornacek (G; 1993–2000)
Andrei Kirilenko (F; 2001– )
Karl Malone (F; 1985–2003)
Pete Maravich (G; 1974–80)
John Stockton (G; 1984–2003)
Deron Williams (G; 2005–2011)

KEy COACHES
Frank Layden (1981–88):
277–294; 18–23 (postseason)
Jerry Sloan (1988–2011):
1,127–682; 96–100 (postseason)

HOME ArENAS
Loyola Field House (1974–75)
Municipal Auditorium (1974–75)
Louisiana Superdome (1975–79)
Salt Palace (1979–91)
Delta Center/EnergySolutions Arena
(1991– )
* All statistics through 2010–11 season

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QuOTes and aneCdOTes
When the Utah Jazz traded for 25-year-old Terry Furlow in 1980, they had
visions of him being a big part of their rebuilding. That season, Furlow played
well and averaged 16 points per game. That would be Furlow’s only season in
Utah, however. After the season, he was killed in an automobile accident.

As a kid in Louisiana, Karl Malone used to tell his mother, Shirley, “Mama,
I’m going to own me a big truck someday.” When he got to the NBA and could
afford it, he bought an 18-wheel rig and often drove it. “Basketball is my job,
but this is my love,” he said.

For 18 years, John Stockton and Karl Malone were one of the great 1–2
punches in NBA history. “Stockton to Malone” became a familiar phrase for
NBA fans. Both players are retired, but their connection has not ended. The
former All-Stars are co-owners of a car dealership in the Salt Lake City area.
The name of the dealership is, not surprisingly, Stockton to Malone Honda.

In 2009, John Stockton was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball
Hall of Fame. As part of his speech, he said, “To all the people who touched my
life, helped me along, and brought out the best in me by whatever means, I’m
overwhelmed and, yes, humbled. I can’t begin to adequately thank even a few.
I feel honored to stand up here in front of you and represent you on this stage
tonight.” Karl Malone was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball
Hall of Fame in 2010. In his speech, he said, “I hope I did it the way my peers
did it before me. I didn’t do anything but try to play hard.”

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glOssary
assist

overtime

A pass that leads directly to a made
basket.

A period in a basketball game that is
played to determine a winner when
the four quarters end in a tie.

contract
A binding agreement about, for
example, years of commitment by a
basketball player in exchange for a
given salary.

The games in which the best teams
play after the regular-season
schedule has been completed.

draft

rebound

A system used by professional sports
leagues to select new players in order
to spread incoming talent among all
teams. The NBA Draft is held each
June.

To secure the basketball after a
missed shot.

franchise
An entire sports organization,
including the players, coaches, and
staff.

general manager
The executive who is in charge of
the team’s overall operation. He or
she hires and fires coaches, drafts
players, and signs free agents.

46

postseason

rookie
A first-year player in the NBA.

roster
The players as a whole on a
basketball team.

veteran
An individual with great experience
in a particular endeavor.

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fOr MOre infOrMaTiOn
Further reading

Places To visit

Ballard, Chris. The Art of a Beautiful
Game: The Thinking Fan’s Tour of the
NBA. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2009.

EnergySolutions Arena
301 West South Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
801-325-2000
www.energysolutionsarena.com
Formerly known as the Delta Center, this
has been the Jazz’s home arena since the
1991–92 season.

Lazenby, Roland. Stockton to Malone: The
Rise of the Utah Jazz. Lenexa, KS: Addax,
2002.
Simmons, Bill. The Book of Basketball:
The NBA According to the Sports Guy.
New York: Random House, 2009.

Web Links
To learn more about the Utah Jazz, visit
ABDO Publishing Company online at
www.abdopublishing.com. Web sites
about the Jazz are featured on our Book
Links page. These links are routinely
monitored and updated to provide the
most current information available.

Greater New Orleans
Sports Hall of Fame
Louisiana Superdome
1500 Sugar Bowl Drive
New Orleans, LA 70112-1255
www.allstatesugarbowl.org/site64.php
This Hall of Fame honors New Orleans
natives who have achieved prominence
in sports or others who have achieved
prominence in New Orleans.
Naismith Memorial
Basketball Hall of Fame
1000 West Columbus Avenue
Springfield, MA 01105
413-781-6500
www.hoophall.com
This hall of fame and museum highlights
the greatest players and moments in the
history of basketball. Adrian Dantley,
Karl Malone, Pete Maravich, John
Stockton, and coach Jerry Sloan are
among the former Jazz players enshrined.

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Index
Atlanta Hawks, 16, 25

Indiana Pacers, 23

Phoenix Suns, 18, 28

Bailey, Thurl, 25, 28, 30
Battistone, Sam (owner), 15, 21
Boone, Ron, 22
Boozer, Carlos, 38, 39, 40
Boston Celtics, 22
Bristow, Allan, 22
Buffalo Braves, 23

Jefferson, Al, 40

Robertson, Scotty (coach), 17
Robinson, Len “Truck,” 18
Rosenfeld, Fred (owner), 15
Russell, Bryon, 9

Chicago Bulls, 10–12, 34, 39, 40
Dantley, Adrian, 22–25, 28,
29–30
Delta Center, 11
Denver Nuggets, 28, 37
Detroit Pistons, 18, 24, 30
Dream Team, 7
Drew, John, 25, 28, 30
Eaton, Mark, 25, 28, 31
Favors, Derrick, 40

Kirilenko, Andrei, 38, 41
Layden, Frank (general
manager and coach),
22–25, 27, 28–30, 31–32
Los Angeles Lakers, 10, 18,
23, 37
Louisiana Jazz, 12, 15–19, 22
Louisiana Superdome, 17–18
Loyola Field House, 17
Malone, Karl, 5–12, 30, 32, 33,
37–38, 39, 41
Maravich, “Pistol Pete,” 16–17,
18–19, 22
Millsap, Paul, 41
Moore, Otto, 18
Municipal Auditorium, 17

Goodrich, Gail, 18–19
Green, Rickey, 25, 28, 30, 31
Griffith, Darrell, 25, 27, 28, 31

NBA Finals
1997, 9–10, 34
1998, 10–12, 34
New Jersey Nets, 40
Nissalke, Tom (coach), 25

Harris, Devin, 40
Hornacek, Jeff, 9, 12, 33
Houston Rockets, 10, 33, 34

Okur, Mehmet, 38
Ostertag, Greg, 9

Salt Palace, 22
San Antonio Spurs, 10, 33,
39, 40
Sloan, Jerry (coach), 6, 9, 10,
32–33, 38, 40, 41
Stockton, John, 5–12, 30, 33,
34, 37–38, 41
Tripucka, Kelly, 30
Utah Stars, 21–22
Van Breda Kolff, Bill (coach),
17
Wilkins, Dominique, 25
Williams, Deron, 38, 39–40, 41
Williams, Freeman, 25

About the Author
Brian Howell is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colorado. He has written several books for
young readers. Howell has been a sports journalist for more than 17 years, writing about high
school, college, and professional athletics, including covering major sporting events such as the US
Open golf tournament, the World Series, the Stanley Cup playoffs, the NBA All-Star Game, and the
NBA playoffs. He has earned several writing awards during his career.

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