Utah Jazz to Honor 20th Anniversary of First Western Conference Championship

The Utah Jazz will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the franchise’s first Western Conference Championship as part of the team’s alumni program when members of the 1996-97 squad return on March 22.

The “Reunited: ’97 Western Conference Champs” celebration is presented by Zions Bank. Players, coaches, athletic trainers and front office staff will be honored during halftime of the Jazz game against the New York Knicks at Vivint Smart Home Arena (8:30 p.m. MT, TV: ROOT Sports, Radio: 1280/97.5 The Zone).

“We could not be more excited to reunite this historic Jazz team,” said Gail Miller, owner of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies and the Utah Jazz. “The 1996-97 season was the culmination of so many years of hard work. That team brought our community together during an incredible playoff run, creating memories our fans cherish to this day. We look forward to honoring their tremendous achievements.”

Eighteen years after moving to Salt Lake City from New Orleans, the 1996-97 Jazz won the franchise’s first Western Conference Championship, culminated by a John Stockton buzzer-beating three-pointer in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals at Houston. The team headed into the postseason as the West’s top seed following a franchise record 64 wins, including 38 victories at home en route to the franchise’s fourth Midwest Division title.

The team also featured a slew of individual accolades, led by Karl Malone becoming the first Jazzman to win the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award after finishing second in the league in scoring at 27.4 points in addition to 9.9 rebounds per game. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the NBA also honored Malone and John Stockton as two of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history during All-Star Weekend where the two would qualify for their 10th and ninth All-Star appearances, respectively. In addition, Bryon Russell would set single-season franchise records for three-point field goals made (108) and attempted (264)

Former Jazzmen who have returned recently as part of the team’s alumni program for visits include: Thurl Bailey, Antoine Carr, Tom Chambers, Theodore “Blue” Edwards, Darrell Griffith, Andrei Kirilenko, Frank Layden, Mehmet Okur, Jerry Sloan, Felton Spencer and the 1984 “Team With Heart” playoff squad.

Jazz tickets for the 1997 anniversary celebration on March 22 against the New York Knicks are available now through utahjazz.com, the Vivint Smart Home Arena box office and by calling (801) 355-SEAT. 

The game is being included in a limited package with an additional game against the Portland Trail Blazers on April 4, a D-League matchup between the Salt Lake City Stars and Reno Bighorns on March 31 and Chick-fil-A sandwich. Packages start at $96.