This Day in Jazz History - June 24, 1986

Photo by Don Grayston, Deseret News Archives

Larry H. Miller purchased the 50 percent of the Jazz owned by StratAmerica Corp. of which Sam D. Battistone was the majority owner. The purchase gave Miller 100 percent ownership of the the team.

Miller had previously purchased 50 percent of the Jazz 14 months earlier, and was now facing a monumental decision. A group from Minnesota wanted to relocate an NBA franchise to Minneapolis and were heavily propositioning co-owners Miller and Battistone about selling the team. Miller's half wasn't on the market but that wasn't the case for Battistone's. The Minnesota investors were offering three times the amount of money that Miller paid for the team, just a year prior. The contract's were on Miller's desk and all that was missing to make the sale official was his signature. As he stood over the contracts, pen in hand, he couldn't bring himself to do it. He would then go on to purchase the remaining half of the Jazz and officially became the sole owner on June 24, 1986. The full story of Miller's purchase and the accounts of the several times the team was on the brink of being sold are told in "Driven," an autobiography of Larry H. Miller.

"Nobody wanted to believe this at the time, but I never bought the Jazz to make money. Gail and I always viewed the Jazz as the grand gift we could give the city and the state. There were always offers to buy the Jazz and move them to another city. All I wanted to do was ensure that that would never happen. Money is replaceable; the Jazz are not. For me, it wasn't even difficult to pass up the money."

Larry H. Miller
Photo by Don Grayston, Deseret News Archives