The Utah Jazz – Celebrating 40

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

The year was 1974.  Earth’s population reached the 4 billion mark. UPC (Universal Product Code) or barcode technology was first used in the retail environment. The famous Rubik’s Cube, invented by Erno Rubik made its debut, and the Heimlich maneuver was first introduced.


The year saw such notable births as Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon, New York Yankees’ shortstop Derek Jeter – actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Christian Bale and Joaquin Phoenix – and music entertainer Cee Lo Green, among others. The box office saw Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder hook up, not once, but twice with Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. Happy Days, Land of the Lost, and Little House on the Prairie all made their television debuts.

In music, “Kung Fu Fighting” took center stage while Stevie Wonder continued his soulful serenade all the way to a Grammy. Disco took hold of dance studios and radio waves across the nation, and we saw the formation of such bands as Blondie and the Ramones.

In sports, the Miami Dolphins won Super Bowl VIII, while the Oakland Athletics won the World Series. Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s home run record to become the new king. The Boston Celtics won their 12th NBA title, while the Utah Stars, with 27 year old Ron Boone playing guard, came up short an ABA championship.

*Another notable birth of 1974, a future Rogue Jedi and Jazz fan, arrived in the realm of earth ready to take the galaxy by storm.

Wait, what were we talking about? Oh, that’s right, meaningless ramblings of nothingness.

Let’s “ramble on.”

Finally, a date that holds great importance for the future of Utah sports, on March 7th 1974, the NBA added its 18th franchise, the New Orleans Jazz.

It’s been forty years, four decades. Much has happened in that span of time. Star Wars dominated box offices for nearly a decade. Hair bands and British pop stars took music’s center stage, followed by the grunge movement. The Berlin wall came crumbling down.  The internet provided a new means of communication. So much has evolved and changed. We’ve lived it. We’ve experienced it.

With a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, followed by the annual locker clean-out, the Utah Jazz of finished their 40th season as an NBA franchise, one of frustration and disappointment. The future holds possibility and opportunity, and yet an air of uncertainty.

So, as we embark on a new horizon, perhaps some reflection might just be what the doctor ordered.

Here’s a look back on some of the milestones of the last 40 years:

2012-08-12 21.57.08 2012-08-12 21.58.21

All Utah Jazz photos courtesy of Alan Zaugg

  • 14 seasons of 50 or more wins.
  • 20 straight years, and 25 of the 40 in the playoffs.
  • Six trips to the Western Conference Finals.
  • Two trips to the NBA Finals.
  • An overall winning percentage of .537, good for 5th best all time behind the Lakers, Spurs, Celtics, and Suns.
  • 11 All-Stars.
  • Two season MVP Honors.
  • Two of the 50 greatest players.
  • The second highest scorer in NBA history
  • Player with the most assists and steals in NBA history (Not likely to be broken, ever.)
  • Seven Hall-of-Famers, nine if you add the coaches.

The past 40 years have provided us rich experiences and vivid memories. We’ve celebrated and cried, laughed and cursed. It’s been a journey of epic proportions. However, the journey is far from over. A new 40 lies ahead, untamed and undiscovered. There are new milestones to be achieved, new records to be set, and new heights to be reached. A New Hope is upon us, or maybe it’s time for the Return of the Jazz. Either way you look at it, the journey should be eventful.

What of the Jedi and his adventures? His conquest is still ongoing, whatever that really means.

40 years and still kicking! May the Force be with us all.



About the author

Alan "Jedi" Zaugg

Alan “Jedi” Zaugg is managing editor of TornBySports and co-host of the Jedi & Jerms podcast. He’s an avid NBA fan and passionate sports enthusiast. Additionally he co-hosts a Star Wars podcast (Idiot's Array), writes fantasy and science fiction, and some poetry, in his spare time. Follow him on Twitter: @jedizaugg.