The Jazz are Playing a Retro Tune

4 12 2009

The Utah Jazz, along with six other teams, are participating in a series of games this season called NBA Hardwood Classic Nights.  Wednesday night, the games were tipped off when Cleveland wore their retro home jerseys from the 1988-1989 season.  There are 62 total NBA Hardwood Classic Nights games, and 17 of which are being nationally televised.  The other five teams participating in this includes the Orlando Magic, Portland Trailblazers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors, and the Toronto Raptors.

The Jazz are involved with this because the franchise is celebrating their 30th anniversary of moving from New Orleans to Utah.  The Jazz will don the retro green jerseys from the 1979-1980 team. 3 out of the 11 games scheduled with these uniforms will be nationally televised.

With the New Orleans Jazz struggling with attendance and losing over five million dollars over a few seasons, original owner Sam Battistone decided to move the Jazz to the smaller market city of Salt Lake.  Even though Salt Lake City was a smaller market, they had shown that they could support a pro basketball team when the popular Utah Stars played there from 1970-1976.  The team decided to keep their name even though Salt Lake was not known for it’s jazz culture.  They also kept the original colors of purple, green, and gold, even though those are the colors of Mardi Gras.  It took over six seasons for the Jazz to turn their struggles around in Salt Lake.  If the Jazz had not traded their pick in the ‘79 draft, their move would have been a little smoother because with that pick, the Lakers took Magic Johnson.

In the first season playing in Salt Lake, the Jazz posted a 24-58 record, and thankfully enough have posted better records since then. Some things have changed like moving out of the Salt Palace into the Delta Center/Energy Solutions Arena.  Other things have not changed like Jerry Sloan being head coach in all but seven years of the past three decades.  I personally am thankful for the Jazz moving to Salt Lake, and personally I am thankful for them wearing these retro jerseys because they are straight powder!

Written by: Matthew Flygare
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