New Orleans Jazz

New Orleans Jazz  

Jazz Timeline


New Orleans Jazz Team Formation

In 1974, the Jazz franchise began in New Orleans as the 18th team to enter the NBA. The team's first major move was to trade for star player Pete Maravich who had played collegiately at LSU from the Atlanta Hawks for two first-round draft picks, three second-round picks, and one third-round pick over the next three years. Although he was considered one of the most entertaining players in the league and won the scoring championship in 1977 with 31.1 points per game, the Jazz' best record while in New Orleans was 39–43 in the 1977 - 1978 season. Maravich struggled with knee injuries from that season onward.

Moving to Utah

Despite being barely competitive, the Jazz drew well during their first five years. However, by 1979 the franchise was sinking financially. Barry Mendelson, the team's executive vice president for most of the early years, said one factor in the financial trouble was an 11 percent amusement tax, highest in the nation at the time. The team also couldn't attract much local corporate support an important factor even in those days or local investors.

Battisone concluded that the franchise could not be viable in New Orleans and decided to move elsewhere. After scouting several new homes, he decided to move to Salt Lake City, even though it was a smaller market. However, Salt Lake City had proven it could support a pro basketball team when it played host to the American Basketball Association's Utah Stars from 1970 to 1976. The Stars had been extremely popular in the city and had even won an ABA title in their first season after moving from Los Angeles. However, their finances inexplicably collapsed in their last two seasons, and they were shut down by the league 16 games into the 1975 - 1976 season after missing payroll. Although Salt Lake City was not known for its jazz culture, the team decided to keep the name, as well as the team's original colors of green, purple and gold (the colors of Mardi Gras). Some were offended by the Jazz keeping the franchise name after moving from New Orleans, citing it as a metaphor for the theft of Jazz from its cultural roots; other commentators, including David Halberstam, noted that it was highly incongruous to have a nickname based on a genre of music largely pioneered and led by African-American artists used for a team in a state where the main religious body—the LDS Church—expressed many derogatory ideas towards blacks.

Salt Palace Arena

The fan support that the Stars received established Salt Lake City as a viable basketball market, setting the stage for the NBA's New Orleans Jazz to relocate and become the Utah Jazz in 1979. The Salt Palace was an indoor arena located in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was built on land that was once the "Little Tokyo" area of the city.

The Salt Palace was completed in 1969 at the cost of $17 million, the arena, later expanded to 12,666 seats, was the home of the Utah Stars of the American Basketball Association from 1970 to 1975, the Salt Lake Golden Eagles hockey club from 1969 to 1991, and the Utah Jazz from 1979 to 1991. In 1994, three years after the Jazz moved into the Delta Center (now EnergySolutions Arena), the Salt Palace was demolished. A convention center of the same name stands on the site today. From 1980 until the arena's closing, the arena was officially called the Salt Palace Acord Arena in memory of Thayne and Lorraine Acord.

New Owner Larry Miller

The team's perennial financial woes and instability were somewhat stabilized during April 1985, when auto dealer Larry H. Miller bought 50% of the team from Battisone for $8 million. Battisone had been seeking to move the team.

EnergySolutions Arena

EnergySolutions Arena (originally Delta Center) is an indoor arena, in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States, owned by Jazz Basketball Investors, Inc., the estate of Larry H. Miller. The arena seats 19,911 for basketball, has 56 luxury suites, and 668 club seats. Opened in 1991, the arena was known as the Delta Center, until EnergySolutions purchased the naming rights, after Delta Air Lines declined to renew their 15 year contract, effective November 20, 2006. The arena is the home of the NBA's Utah Jazz.

Jazz Primary Logo History No Alternate Logo History No Wordmark Logo History


Team Information Team History

New Orleans - Salt Lake City

Jazz - New Orleans is the jazz capitol of the world. Most all great jazz musicians begin their careers in New Orleans. The Jazz nickname was originally chosen through a name-the-team contest, which produced seven other finalists: Dukes, Crescents, Pilots, Cajuns, Blues, Deltas, and Knights.

Vivint Smart Home Arena
2015 - present
EnergySolutions Arena
2006 - present
  • Delta Center
  • 1991 - 2005

Salt Palace
1979 - 1991

*New Orleans*
Louisiana Superdome 
1975 - 1979
Municipal Auditorium & Loyola Field House
1974 - 1975

Greg and Gail Miller
2009 - present
Larry Miller
1986 - 2009
Sam Battistone and Larry Miller
1985 - 1986
Sam Battistone
1974 - 1985

Established: 1974

League History:
National Basketball Association
1974 - present

Team History:
Utah Jazz
1979 - present
New Orleans Jazz
1974 - 1979

NBA Championships: 0

Retired Numbers:
1 Frank Layden
4 Adrian Dantley
7 Pete Maravich
9 Larry H. Miller
12 John Stockton
14 Jeff Hornacek
32 Karl Malone
35 Darrell Griffith
53 Mark Eaton
1223 Jerry Sloan
- "Hot" Rod Hundley

  *Red is this team's history

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