On March 7, 1974, New Orleans became the 18th member of the NBA as a nine-man group headed by Fred Rosenfeld and Sam Battistone paid $6.15 million for the expansion franchise. Then on May 3, 1974, Pete Maravich was acquired by trade from Atlanta, becoming the first player in franchise history. That spring, a contest was held to name the ...
In the summer of 1974, an expansion franchise was preparing for its first season of competition in the NBA. The New Orleans Jazz was looking for something or someone to generate excitement among their new basketball fans. With his exciting style of play, Maravich was seen as the perfect man for the job. Additionally, he was already a celebrity in ...
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, the highest in the U.S. at the time. The team also could not ...
History of the Jazz
On June 7, 1974, the New Orleans Jazz was admitted as an expansion franchise into the National Basketball Association (NBA). Team officials choose the name because of its definition in the dictionary: collective improvisation. The team began its inaugural season in New Orleans in the 1974 – 1975 season. 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.
Deciding that Jazz could not be viable in New Orleans, Battistone decided to move elsewhere. After scouting several new homes, he decided on Salt Lake City, even though it was a smaller market. Salt Lake City had previously been home to the Utah Stars of the American Basketball Association (ABA) 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 financial situation deteriorated in their last two seasons, and they were shut down by the league 16 games into the 1975–76 season in December 1975 after missing payroll. Although Salt Lake City was not known for its jazz culture, the team decided to keep the name, as there was not enough time before the start of the 1979–80 season to receive league approval for a name change. The Jazz also preserved the original Mardi Gras-themed colors: green, purple, and gold. As a result of the move, of the three ABA teams that were left out of the ABA–NBA merger, the erstwhile Utah Stars are the only ones to have eventually been replaced by an NBA team.
New Orleans – Salt Lake City
1974 – Present / National Basketball Association
1979 – Present / Utah Jazz
1974 – 1979 / New Orleans Jazz
Jazz – 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. As the undisputed “jazz capital of the world”, the city embraced the new name. And, for the second time, Jazz had been born in New Orleans. To convey a distinct Mardi Gras theme, purple gold, and green colors were used and the logo featured the ‘J’ as an eighth note. The team colors were actually selected prior to the name.
NBA Championships 0
2015 – Present / Vivint Smart Home Arena
2006 – 2015 / EnergySolutions Arena
1991 – 2005 / Delta Center
1979 – 1991 / Salt Palace
1975 – 1979 / Louisiana Superdome
1974 – 1975 / Municipal Auditorium & Loyola Field House
2020 - Present / Ryan Smith
2009 – 2020 / Greg and Gail Miller
1986 – 2009 / Larry Miller
1985 – 1986 / Sam Battistone and Larry Miller
1974 – 1985 / Sam Battistone
To qualify as the greatest player for this team, the player must have played one season for this team. If not, we will remove the player.
* verifies that player has played for this team as an added player by a fan.
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
*Blue is this team’s history