Posted by: Adam on August 24th, 2010The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
So If you don’t know me, my mind tends to wander frequently from topic to topic and recently I was reflecting on all the retired Jerseys that we have hanging in the rafters of the Energy Solutions Arena. It could be that Karl Malone’s hall of fame induction recently caused me to reflect on this, but I’m not sure. Now after reflecting on all the retired jerseys, an interesting question jumped into my mind. Who’s next?Who will be the next Jazz legend to be honored by having their Jersey retired or a banner hanging in their honor? We have several players, a coach, an owner, and a commentator up there, so clearly the Jazz aren’t too picky by saying a retired has to be that of a former player. What about our current players? If we were to look into the future 20 or 30 years, which players that are currently on our team will have their jersey hanging in the rafters? To easier answer this question, I deemed it necessary to look at each of the current jerseys and briefly review their accomplishments with us that earned them the right to have their jersey retired. This can help us determine the requirements necessary. Here we go:
Hot Rod Hundley – He goes first on this list because, as you will see, I am doing this in numerical order and he doesn’t have an actual number or jersey in the rafters. We gave him a nice banner that will hang with the retired retired jerseys with a microphone on it. For those who are too young to remember (myself included), Hot Rod did play basketball. He played college ball at West Virginia and 6 years professionally with the Lakers. His mark with the Utah Jazz, though, came as our commentator. He did a few stints prior to our existence, but he’s been with us since the very beginning, even our very first year in New Orleans. He came with us to Utah and spent a total of 35 years as the voice of the Jazz before retiring, his last four years working on the radio.
#1-Frank Layden – Frank Layden became the general manager for the Jazz in 1979. In 1981, he replaced Tom Nissalke as the head coach. He coached the Jazz for 7 1/2 seasons before retiring mid season in 1989 where he was replaced by Jerry Sloan. It’s interesting to note that the Jazz have only had six head coaches in the entire history of their franchise and only two since since 1981. In 1984, Frank Layden won the NBA Coach of the Year Award, the NBA Executive of the Year Award, and the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award. He was instrumental in bringing in John Stockton and Karl Malone.
#4-Adrian Dantley- Adrian Dantley spent 15 years in the league with 7 different teams which included the Buffalo Braves, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz, Detroit Pistons, Dallas Mavericks, and Milwaukee Bucks. He had career averages of 24.3 PPG and 5.7 RPG. However, his best seasons were the 7 seasons he played with the Utah Jazz between 1979 and 1986. In those 7 seasons he averaged 29.5 PPG and 6.2 RPG. In those 7 seasons he had 4 years where he averaged above 30 PPG and twice where he lead the NBA is scoring. 6 of those years he made the NBA all star team and two of them he earned all NBA second team honors. He was also the 76-77 Rookie of the Year. Dantley was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2008.
#7-Pete Maravich- Pistol Pete is the all-time leading scorer in NCAA division I with 3,667 points scored and an average of 44.2 PPG at LSU. He played his first 4 seasons with the Hawks before he was traded to the Jazz in our very first season for 8 players. He spent his final 6 seasons with us, including a stint with the Celtics the last half of his last season. A leg injury ultimately prompted his early retirement. He made it to the All-NBA Rookie team his rookie season after averaging 23.2 PPG that first season. He made NBA history when he signed one of the highest contracts at the time, a whopping $1.9 million. He averaged 24.2 PPG and 5.4 APG in his 10 year career. He led the league in scoring in the 76-77 season with 31.1 PPG. He made it to the All-NBA First Team in 76 and 77 and also made it to the All-NBA Second Team in 73 and 78. He was also a 5 time NBA All-Star and was selected as one of the 50 greatest NBA players of all time in 1996. ESPNU named Pete the greatest college player of all time in 2005. Pistol Pete was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987, being one of the youngest players in at age 39. Pete died suddenly at the age of 40 due to a previously undetected congenital heart defect. Rest in Peace Pistol Pete. You were one of the greatest.
#9-Larry Miller- Larry Miller is the late owner of the Utah Jazz and one of the most influential people in recent Utah history. He become co-owner of the Utah Jazz in 1985 and complete owner in 1986. He is responsible for keeping the Jazz in Utah. In addition to his excellent work as the Jazz’s owner, he was also one of the best businessman. He was the owner of 39 automobile dealerships and a variety of other businesses including Prestige Financial, Jordan Commons, Larry H. Miller Megaplex Theaters, KJZZ TV, Miller Motorsports Park, FANZZ, and the Energy Solutions Arena. He died on February 20, 2009 and will always be remembered by all of Utah for too many reasons to be named.
#12-John Stockton- John Stockton spent all 19 of his NBA seasons with the Utah Jazz, getting career averages of 13.1 PPG, 10.5 APG, and 2.2 SPG. He is the all-time leader of assists and steals. John was a 10 time NBA all-star, 2 time All-NBA first team selection, 6 time All-NBA second team selection, 3 time All-NBA third team selection, 5 time NBA All-Defensive second team selection, 2 time Bausch and Lomb Court Vision Award Winner, and 2 time Allstate Good Hands Award Winner. He played for the 1992 and 1996 USA olympic basketball teams and was selected as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history in 1996. He led the Jazz to two straight NBA Finals appearances, making the game winning shot against the Rockets to send the Jazz to the Finals for the very first time. He has a street named after him in Salt Lake City right next to the Energy Solutions Arena, John Stockton Drive, as well as a statue of him in front of the Energy Solutions Arena. John Stockton was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.
#14-Jeff Hornacek- Jeff Hornacek spent his first 6 seasons in the NBA with the Phoenix Suns. He was then traded along with Andrew Lang and Tim Perry to the 76ers for Charles Barkley. Halfway through his second season with the 76ers he was traded to the Jazz for Jeff Malone. Hornacek was the perfect third option for the Suns as well as the perfect third option for the Jazz. He was very instrumental in helping the Jazz get over the playoff hump and into the Finals for two consecutive seasons. During his career, he averaged 14.5 PPG with a FT% of 87.7% and a 3P% of 40.3%. He once made 67 consecutive Free Throws. He also won the NBA 3 Point Shooting Contest twice. His lone all star appearance came in 1992, his final season with the Suns.
#32-Karl Malone- Karl Malone played 18 out of his 19 seasons for the Utah Jazz, leaving in his final year to join the Lakers in hopes for a championship ring. After an impressive rookie season where he averaged 14.9 PPG and 8.9 RPG, and earned a place on the NBA All-Rookie Team, the Jazz were prompted to trade 6 time all-star Adrian Dantley and build around Malone. Malone went on to average an impressive 25.0 PPG and 10.1 RPG. Malone is a 2 time MVP, 14 time NBA all-star, 11 time All-NBA First team selection, 2 time All-NBA Second Team selection, 1 time All-NBA Third Team selection, 3 time NBA All-Defensive First Team selection, 1 time NBA All-Defensive Second Team selection, and 2 time NBA All-Star MVP. He was selected as one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players of all time in 1996 and was ranked #18 on Slam Magazine’s Top 50 Players of all time in 2009. He is the all time NBA leader in Free Throws attempted, Free Throws Made, Defensive Rebounds, and is second all time in scoring, behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Recorded a record 11 straight seasons where he scored 2,000 points. Played on the USA Olympic basketball team in 1992 and 1996. Led the Utah Jazz to two consecutive appearances to the NBA Finals where they were beaten both times by the Chicago Bulls. Like Stockton, Malone has a street named after him in Salt Lake City that runs past the Energy Solutions Arena and intersects with John Stockton Drive. He also has a statue built in his honor in front of the Energy Solutions Arena. Karl Malone was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame this month.
#35-Darrell Griffith- Darrell Griffith, known as Dr. Dunkenstein because of his aerial exploits. Hot Rod also referred to him as the Golden Griff. He was selected by the Jazz with the second overall pick in 1980 and played his entire 10 year career with the Jazz, spanning the entire decade of the 80’s. He won rookie of the year honors his rookie season after averaging 20.6 PPG. He averaged a career of 16.2 PPG with the Jazz, 4 of those years averaging above 20 PPG. He participated in the 1985 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, where he placed 6th out of 8.
#53-Mark Eaton- Due to limited playing time at UCLA, Mark Eaton fell all the way to the fourth round of the NBA draft, before being selected by the Jazz. However, Eaton made an immediate impact his rookie season, replacing Danny Shcayes as Utah’s starting center and getting a franchise record 275 blocked shots, averaging 3.4 BPG which was third in the NBA. Eaton went on to play all 11 of his NBA with the Jazz, averaging 6.0 PPG, 7.9 RPG, and 3.5 BPG. His single season high in blocked shots came his third season where he averaged 5.6 BPG, which shattered an NBA record. He also recorded 11.3 RPG that year. That performance earned him a place on the NBA All-Defensive First Team as well as the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. He went on to earn 1 NBA all star appearance, a Second NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, 2 additional selections to the NBA All-Defensive First Team, as well as 2 selections to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team. His 3,064 career blocked shots is second all time, behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and his career average of 3.5 BPG is an NBA record. I bet there are a lot of teams that feel real stupid for passing on the 7′4″ center that year in the draft.
So there we go. All 10 of the enshrined Jazz legends who have their place in the rafters of the Energy Solutions Arena. Now after reviewing all those, we can determine the qualifications that the Jazz have of being eligible to getting your jersey required. Look at those requirements or trends and answer the question that I posed at the beginning. I’m not going to give an in depth analysis of who I think should be up there next, but rather I am going to leave an open discussion for all of us to determine. And don’t feel obligated to limit yourself to only the very next retired jersey. Name any and all players, coaches, owners, commentators, etc that you think will (or should be) up there. Dig into the past. Are there any players like Adrian Dantley that the Jazz originally missed that needs to be up there like Rickey Green or Thurl Bailey? Is there a Jazz player that has recently left of retired that will be up there in a few years like Matt Harpring or Carlos Boozer? What about our current coach Jerry Sloan? How soon will the Jazz honor him in the rafters? Is there a player on our current Jazz squad like Deron Williams, Andrei Kirilenko, or Mehmet Okur who will continue to have long, successful careers and do enough to get their jerseys retired? What about future stars for us like Al Jefferson or Gordon Hayward? Will they be good enough to get their jerseys retired? Now all these names I’ve given aren’t my opinions, but rather are suggestions or potential candidates to get your minds going. Give me your thoughts and your picks.
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