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The Shot That Ruined The Utah Jazz Forever


The 2014-2015 NBA regular season have come to a close and once again the Utah Jazz will not be in the playoffs. It will be the third consecutive season that this once proud franchise will not take on the Western Conference’s best in the postseason.

However, their recent struggles could have been traced back to that dreadful Sunday evening in Salt Lake City 17 years ago. It was the 1998 NBA Finals which featured the Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz. The Bulls led by Michael Jordan and his tag team partners Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman.

It was the second time that these two franchises had faced each other in the NBA Finals. In Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals, the Jazz held the lead for the most part however the Bulls came from behind to win the game and secured their sixth world championship in team history.  Michael Jordan stole the ball from Karl Malone and then made, the infamous jump shot over Bryon Russell to seal the deal for the Bulls. Ever since then it has been a  season of ups and downs for the Utah Jazz.

Franchises such as the Boston Red Sox and the Utah Jazz failed to recover from moments where the team struggles for years ..of being the victims of outrageous moments in their team history. Those moments such as the Bill Buckner play or the Jordan over Russell shot can cripple a franchise for years or even a decade to recover from and have that time of redemption. For the Red Sox, that moment came in 2004 when they finally gotten over the so-called “Curse of the Bambino” to win their first World Series Title since 1914.

They have also won two more championships since then. In regards to the Jazz, they have not won an NBA Championship or have had the level of consistency in the postseason that they once had under the Jerry Sloan Era. The Jazz did have two young up, and coming stars in Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer but that duo failed to have the same type of success that their predecessors John Stockton and Karl Malone had. Sloan resigned in the middle of the 2011 regular season, and Williams got traded to the Brooklyn Nets in 2011. Williams’s sidekick Carlos Boozer is now in a place of mediocrity with the once-mighty Los Angeles Lakers franchise.

No one knows when we will see a complete rebirth of the Utah Jazz organization. It may take a season of “tanking” for the Jazz to get that coveted 1st or 2nd pick in the  NBA Draft. Unless Wisconsin power forward Frank Kaminski fall to the Jazz then it will most likely be a possible role player type selection for the Jazz in this year’s upcoming NBA Draft.

Even if the Jazz do get an opportunity to draft a player that will help rebuild the franchise it might not work long term. The days of superstars staying put in one city for at least 15 years are over unless you start your career in a large market such as Miami or Los Angeles. Whatever the case maybe the Jazz front office must remain vigilant in their pursuit of bringing back the glory days of Stockton and Malone to the fans in Utah.



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Derrick Branch is the founder and lead writer of Tops Sports.Com. He is a die-hard sports fan and keeps it 100 on all things that involve the NFL, NBA, NCAA Football.
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