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We was all eating Delaney Rudd Jersey dinner in Barcelona while

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Their equanimity restored, the Jazz’s swagger quickly came back, too.

“Coming out of that series, we really felt that we had a chance to do something special,” Corbin said.

Now matched up against a Seattle SuperSonics team led by Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, the Jazz figured to have a tough Cheap Delaney Rudd Jersey battle on their hands if they were to make it as far as the Western Conference finals for the first time.

And it was tough — Game 1 was decided by just eight points. Games 2, 3 and 4 by six points apiece. Game 5 was the only double-digit outcome of the series, as the Jazz prevailed 111-100. Of course, while all the games were close, they were also almost all in Utah’s favor. Practically before they knew it, they’d earned a 4-1 series victory and broken through their supposed glass ceiling.

Utah would now head up to Portland to take on the top-seeded Trail Blazers, four wins away from the NBA Finals. Being blown Cheap John Stockton Jersey out 113-88 in Game 1 and 119-102 in Game 2 did nothing to diminish their belief in themselves.

“I distinctly remember the team being very confident,” Edwards said. “And sometimes when you’re confident, you don’t have to beat your chest, you don’t have to tell everybody about it — it’s just a matter of having that quiet confidence that, you know, the team is good enough, we have the right pieces.”

The Jazz rallied back in Game 3, with Karl Malone racking up 39 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in a 97-89 victory. In Game 4, Malone had 33 points and 12 rebounds, and Stockton contributed 18 points and 15 assists, and Utah’s 121-112 win tied the series, setting up a pivotal Game 5.

(Tribune File Photo) John Stockton of the Utah Jazz (12) drives past New York Knicks’ Gerald Wilkins (21), left, and Mark Jackson (13), right, in an NBA game Jan. 29. 1992.
(Tribune File Photo) John Stockton of the Utah Jazz (12) drives past New York Knicks’ Gerald Wilkins (21), left, and Mark Jackson (13), right, in an NBA game Jan. 29. 1992.

The series may have been effectively decided on a play right before halftime in Portland. As Blazers guard Clyde Drexler went to Cheap Karl Malone Jersey make a move, the ball was swiped from him. The follow-through motion of his arm, however, resulted in Stockton taking a finger to his right eye.

“It was a bad one. … Stockton goes off the floor at halftime and and everybody’s wondering, ‘Gosh, how bad is it?’” Luhm said. “And Stockton — Mr. Indestructible — doesn’t play in the second half.”

With team doctors determining the point guard’s vision was sufficiently compromised, he was held out. Still, Utah rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit to tie the game going into the fourth quarter. Backup point guard Delaney Rudd even nailed a 3-pointer at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime. Still, after Utah took a brief lead, the Blazers reeled off an 8-0 run to close out the 127-121 win.

Stockton would return for Game 6, and while he would rack up 18 points and 12 assists, he also was clearly still impacted by the injury — shooting just 5 for 19 overall and 1 of 8 from 3-point range.

“The Jazz said, you know, in typical Jazz fashion, ‘Oh, he’s going to be fine.’ They didn’t really put anything on [the injury report]. Well, Stockton wasn’t fine. He was hurt and he tried to play, but he just wasn’t himself,” Luhm said. “… I saw his eye after the game and it was all bloody and red and it was it was really grotesque. Just the nature Utah Jazz Jerseys China of the beast, I guess — somebody got hurt, and it happened to be one of the best players of all time.”

With Utah mustering just 38 points after halftime, Portland earned a 105-97 win, a series victory, and a Finals date against Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and the defending champion Chicago Bulls.

The Jazz were simultaneously proud of finally having taken that next step, disappointed about losing a series they felt they could have won, and resolute that, with another new step now to take, they would find a way to make it happen.

“After that, in the locker room, it’s that sense of, we let a good opportunity slip through our fingers; that this was our series to win, and, you know, we blew it,” Edwards recalled. “And so it was a letdown. … We had an opportunity and we lost that focus, we lost a grip on it, and it got away from us. I think, in some ways, that probably made the team even more even more hungry.”

Members of the U.S. basketball team greet center Patrick Ewing (6), left, during the game against Angola in Bandalona, Spain, during the Summer Games, July 26, 1992. From left are John Stockton, Clyde Drexler, obscured, Chris Mullen, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, and Ewing. The U.S. beat Angola, 116-48. (AP Photo/John Gaps III)
Members of the U.S. basketball team greet center Patrick Ewing (6), left, during the game against Angola in Bandalona, Spain, during the Summer Games, July 26, 1992. From left are John Stockton, Clyde Drexler, obscured, Chris Mullen, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, and Ewing. The U.S. beat Angola, 116-48. (AP Photo/John Gaps III)

And if that series itself didn’t do it, a story the “Brown Bear” brought back from his trip to watch the 1992 Summer Olympics would certainly do the trick.

“Out of the 12 guys on [the Dream Team], I had played with four: currently playing with John and Karl, and I played with Pippen and Jordan to start my career. So I went over to Spain to watch. And I was talking there to Pippen. … We was all eating dinner in Barcelona while the Dream Team was going on; I was able to have dinner with the guys, and they’re playing cards, and [Pippen] said, ‘Brown, man, we was happy as I don’t know what’ [when Portland beat you],” Brown remembered. “He said, ‘Man, we was glad you guys lost, because we really didn’t want to play y’all. We really didn’t know what we was gonna be doing with your pick-and-roll. Portland was a way better matchup for us.’ So that was good information to hear. I wish we would’ve got a chance to play them, but that was definitely good to hear.”

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UPDATED: MAY 3, 2020 AT 9:52 PM
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Chicago Bulls superstar Micheal Jordan had a tough time knocking off the Utah Jazz to start his career.

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Jordan’s first meeting against the Jazz in his NBA Cheap Adrian Dantley Jersey career was in 1985. The two teams squared off twice each season.

In the 10 meetings against the Jazz from 1985-90, Jordan averaged 36.1 points per game. However, the Jazz Cheap Bob Hansen Jersey had a 8-2 record against the Bulls.

Here is a look at every meeting between Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz from 1985-90.

1984-85 Season
Jordan’s first game of his NBA career against the Jazz Cheap Darrell Griffith Jersey was on March 9, 1985 in Chicago. The Jazz won the game 111-105 after Darrell Griffith dropped 40 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. John Stockton added 14 points and 11 assists. Jordan recorded 28 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals in the loss.

The next meeting in the 1984-85 season was in Salt Lake City on March 24, 1985. The Jazz dominated the Bulls 110-92 Cheap Frank Layden Jersey inside the Salt Palace. Adrian Dantley led the Jazz with 29 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Griffith chipped in 25 points and 6 boards. In the loss, Jordan had 26 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals.

Utah finished with a 41-41 record and reached the second Cheap John Stockton Jersey round of the postseason before being eliminated by the Denver Nuggets in five games.

The Bulls ended the season with a 38-44 record. They lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the Playoffs, 3-1. Jordan was named NBA Rookie of the Year.

In the 1985-86 season, Jordan played just 18 games in the regular season and missed both meetings against the Jazz.

1986-87 Season
The first meeting between Jordan and the Jazz took place in Salt Lake City on December 3, 1986. Despite Jordan dropping 45 points Cheap Karl Malone Jersey and 6 steals, the Jazz were able to pull out a 99-94 win, extending their win streak over Michael Jordan to 3-0. Karl Malone notched a double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds in the win. Bob Hansen added 18 points.

It was the first time that Michael Jordan and Karl Malone met in the Salt Palace.

“If I were a sculptor and I was going to make the perfect player, it would be Michael Jordan,” said Jazz head coach Frank Layden during the Cheap Mark Eaton Jersey 1986-87 season.

Later that month on December 20, 1986, the Jazz took a 91-89 win back to Salt Lake City after Karl Malone gave the Jazz the win with the go-ahead bucket with 20 seconds left. Jordan had a chance to tie but turned the ball over.

Malone recorded 17 points and 9 rebounds. Mark Eaton nearly had a triple-double with 16 points, 13 rebounds and 9 blocks. Jordan had 27 points and 7 assists in the loss.

The Jazz won their first four meetings against Jordan. After the 1986-87 season, Utah had a 44-38 record. They lost to the Golden State Warriors Cheap Thurl Bailey Jersey in the first round of the NBA Playoffs in five games.

Chicago ended the year with a 40-42 record before being swept in the first round of the playoffs to the Boston Celtics.

1987-88 Season
It was the year that Michael Jordan finally won his first game against the Utah Jazz. On December 2, 1987 in Salt Lake City the Bulls knocked off the Jazz 105-101 after Jordan dropped 47 points, 9 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks. Malone had 33 points and 14 rebounds to lead Utah with Griffith adding 19 points off the bench.

Jordan would carry the Bulls to their second straight win over the Jazz in Chicago with a 113-91 victory on January 9, 1988. MJ had 45 points, 8 assists and 4 steals for the Bulls while Malone dropped 25 points. Thurl Bailey Cheap Jazz Jerseys Authentic added 18 off the bench.

After the regular season, the Jazz improved their record to 47-35. They knocked off the Portland Trail Blazers in four games in the first round of the Playoffs. The Jazz took the Los Angeles Lakers to seven games before their season ended in the second round.

Chicago had a 50-32 record heading into the Playoffs. They took down the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games before the “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons eliminated the Bulls in five games.

December 2, 1987: Michael Jordan scored 47 points in the Salt Palace and beats the @utahjazz for the first time in his career 105-101. This game will always be remembered for Mike’s dunk on Mel Turpin. #TheLastDance #KSLSportsArchive #NBA pic.twitter.com/KEvS1Pe96z

— Jeremiah Jensen (@JJSportsBeat) May 4, 2020

1988-89 Season
The two teams clashed in Salt Lake City on November 30, 1988 where the Jazz capped off a 107-93 win. Darrell Griffith dropped 32 points and 7 rebounds in the win for Utah along with 23 points off the bench from Thurl Bailey. Jordan had 33 despite having to leave the game after taking an elbow to the nose from Karl Malone.

January 9, 1988: Michael Jordan had 45 points on 17 of 23 shooting in the Bulls 113-91 win over the @utahjazz sweeping the season series. Karl Malone had 25 in the loss. #TheLastDance #KSLSportsArchive #NBA pic.twitter.com/sz0k4UD0gK

— Jeremiah Jensen (@JJSportsBeat) May 4, 2020

On January 6, 1989 in Chicago, the Jazz took down the Bulls 106-92. John Stockton dished out 19 assists. Bailey led all scorers with 33 points off the bench and 30 points from the Mailman. Jordan finished with 27 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.

The Jazz held a 51-31 record after the regular season but was swept in the first round of the Playoffs to the Golden State Warriors.

Chicago was 47-35 in the regular season. They knocked off the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games in the first round and the New York Knicks in six games in the second round before losing to the Detroit Pistons in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals.

1989-90 Season
In the final season of the 80’s, the Jazz and Bulls met in Salt Lake City on November 15, 1989. The Jazz beat the Bulls by one point, 108-107 after John Stockton took the ball through traffic and fired an shot at the buzzer near the paint to give the Jazz the win. Stockton finished with 22 points, 18 assists and 3 steals. Malone added 29 points and 10 rebounds. Jordan scored 40 points for the Bulls in the loss.

March 8, 1990: Michael Jordan scored 43 points but the @utahjazz get 27 points and 19 rebounds from Karl Malone, 16 assists from John Stockton and 22 from @bigTbailey in a 98-94 Jazz road win. #TheLastDance #KSLSportsArchive #NBA pic.twitter.com/KdsqNFkgVo

— Jeremiah Jensen (@JJSportsBeat) May 4, 2020

On March 8, 1990, the Jazz traveled to Chicago and pulled off a 98-94 win despite Jordan going off for 43 points, 7 rebounds and 7 steals. Malone led the Jazz with 27 points and 19 rebounds. John Stockton chipped in 12 points and 16 assists and Thurl Bailey added 22.

The Jazz had a 55-27 record to end the regular season. They were upset by the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the postseason after losing three games to two.

Chicago had the same record as the Jazz but went further in the playoffs. They beat the Milwaukee Bucks in four games in the first round and the Philadelphia 76ers in five games in the second round before being eliminated in seven games by the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals.

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Welcome to Part 2 of Jazz by the Numbers, where we take a stroll down memory lane to recognize the best players to wear each uniform number for the Jazz. Earlier this summer we covered 00 through 24 and today we Cheap Adam Keefe Jersey continue on, from 25 to 99.

This might be a good time to point out that there are quite a few uniform numbers that have never been Cheap Al Jefferson Jersey used by a Jazz player. The most notable number never to be worn by a Jazzman is the 1. It is among the most popular numbers in the NBA, but no Jazz player wore that number before it was formally retired in honor of longtime Jazz coach and executive Frank Layden on December 9, 1988. No player Cheap Alec Burks Jersey has ever worn #1 for the Jazz and no player ever will.

There have been Jazz players who wore every number 2 through 27 but there has never been a 28, 29, 36, 37, 38, 46, 48 or 49. Remarkably, every number between 50-55 has been worn by Jazz players, but only two numbers over 55 have ever been Cheap Andrei Kirilenko Jersey worn: 81 by Miye Oni this season and 99 by Jae Crowder.

Now, on to the rest of the show.

25 – Al Jefferson

Big Al

There have been a few memorable 25s in Jazz history, the most recent of whom was Raul Neto. Among other 25s, I will never fully Cheap Antoine Carr Jersey recover from the disaster that was the Gail Goodrich signing, even if it happened before I was born and before the struggling New Orleans Jazz moved to Utah. The franchise had no pre-warning Cheap Ben Poquette Jersey that they would be excessively punished in the form of owing two firsts (one of which was used to select Magic Johnson) Cheap Blue Edwards Jersey and a second to the Lakers for having the audacity to sign a free agent away from the league’s marquee franchise.

Despite the notability of others who have worn the number, there is little doubt that Big Al Jefferson made the biggest impact on the floor of any player to wear 25 for the Jazz. While his three seasons with the Jazz were not the brightest in the squad’s history, Al started every game he played for the Jazz and averaged a solid Cheap Bryon Russell Jersey 18.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game in his time in Utah.

26 – Kyle Korver

So nice they traded for him twice

Only Kyle Korver and John Amaechi ever wore 26 for the Jazz and between the two, the choice is not difficult. Korver made a big impact Cheap C.J. Miles Jersey with the Jazz when he was acquired from the 76ers in exchange for Gordan Giriček and a 2010 first (that was used to draft future Jazzman Trevor Booker, interestingly enough). While he never had a starting role, he was an important rotational player for the Jazz in his Cheap Carlos Boozer Jersey initial 3-season stint.

After years with several other teams, including earning an All-Star bid with the Hawks in 2015, the Jazz traded Alec Burks and a 2nd round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers to bring Kyle back for a much needed boost Cheap Darrell Griffith Jersey off the bench last year.

27 – Rudy Gobert

Stifle Tower, Gobzilla, French Rejection

The two-time Defensive Player of the Year, three-time All-NBA and one-time All-Star, Rudy Gobert would probably be the best 27 in Jazz history even if he weren’t the only player ever to wear the number for the Jazz. Rudy reportedly chose the number as a reminder of his draft position and the 26 NBA teams who chose to draft somebody else ahead of him. Rudy plays with a giant chip Cheap David Benoit Jersey on his shoulder and, considering that he has accomplished more than any other player in his draft class not named Giannis, he has good reason. The best center in Utah Jazz history is also the best 27.

30 – Blue Edwards

Blue had two stints in Utah, too.

Joining Kyle Korver, David Benoit and Raja Bell as players to have multiple stints with the Jazz, Theodore “Blue” Edwards was the starting Cheap Donovan Mitchell Jersey small forward for the Jazz from 1989-90 to 1991-92 before being traded to the Bucks for Jay Humphries and current University of Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak.

Remarkably, only a few years later the Jazz soured on the Jay Humphries experiment enough that they traded Humphries and a second to the Celtics to bring Blue back to Utah in what has to be rare occurrence Cheap Frank Layden Jersey of the same two players being traded for one another in separate trades. No longer a starter, Blue nonetheless was an important rotation piece for the Jazz for the remainder of the 1995 season before the expansion Vancouver Grizzlies selected him in the Cheap Gordon Hayward Jersey expansion draft that offseason.

Honorable mentions go to Carlos Arroyo and Steph Curry’s dad.

31 – Adam Keefe

Keefe was a role player for Utah’s Finals runs.

The Mini-van Georges Niang will have to bide his time if he wants to rise to the top of players who have worn Cheap Greg Foster Jersey 31 for the Jazz, as Adam Keefe holds that position for now. Keefe never put up the best numbers but he was a rotation player through much of the 90s, including with both Finals teams. Keefe spent six of his nine years in the NBA with the Jazz after the Hawks traded him in exchange for future Jazz coach Ty Corbin. Keefe ended up being traded to the Warriors in 2000 in a massive 4-team Cheap Greg Ostertag Jersey trade that saw the Jazz trade away Keefe, Howard Eisley and future first to acquire Donyell Marshall.

32 – Karl Malone

One of the greatest power forwards ever.

The only MVP in franchise history. The 2nd leading scorer in NBA history. Jersey in the rafters, name in the hall, Cheap Howard Eisley Jersey statue at the arena. With all due respect to John Brown, the only other player ever to wear 32 for the Jazz, the Mailman is the only choice here.

Together with John Stockton and legendary coach Jerry Sloan, Karl Malone led the Jazz to the highest heights the franchise has ever reached as they Cheap Jeff Hornacek Jersey faced Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls in the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals. I’ll never forgive Dick Bavetta for his malfeasance.

In a recent poll, SBNation readers voted the 64-win 1997 Utah Jazz led by Malone and Stockton as the best team never to win an Cheap Jeremy Evans Jersey NBA title. It would be really nice to see another Jazz team defeat the Clippers, Lakers and Rockets in the playoffs on the way to the NBA Finals. Just saying…

33 – Trevor Booker

Booker’s heart endeared him to fans.

Boris Diaw is one of my all-time favorite players and even if he had little impact on the court for the Jazz in his brief Cheap Jerry Sloan Jersey time with the team, I’m personally tempted to name him here. But as with so many fans, I also love Trevor Booker and he won the popular vote here.

In his two seasons as a rotation player for the Jazz, Booker’s most memorable moment has to be hitting this trick shot against the Thunder in 2015 with Cheap John Stockton Jersey essentially no time remaining on the shot clock. Honorable mention to the plus/minus god, Ekpe Udoh.

34 – C.J. Miles

Miles came straight from his Texas high school to the Jazz.

While eight players have worn 34 for the Jazz, this really ends up being a two-way race between long-time Jazzmen. Bryon Russell was a key member of the Jazz for nine years, including the two title runs, while C.J. Miles played seven years for the Cheap Karl Malone Jersey Jazz after being drafted with the 34th pick in the 2005 NBA draft. While Russell probably had the bigger impact on the team, he only wore 34 Cheap Kosta Koufos Jersey for his first 3 seasons before changing to the number 3. So, the top 34 in Jazz history goes to Mr. Miles.

After his years in Utah, C.J. has spent time with the Cavs, Pacers, Grizzlies, Raptors and Wizards before being waived earlier this year. His Cheap Kyle Korver Jersey longest home in the league was with the Jazz, where he was a full-time starter for the 2009 season.

35 – Darrell Griffith

“Golden Griff” was a star on the early-80s Jazz.

Before the Jazz rested their hopes on a young shooting guard out of Louisville in 2017, they drafted a young shooting guard out of Louisville in 1980. Dr. Dunkenstein went on to win the 1981 Rookie of the Year, the only player Cheap Marc Iavaroni Jersey in Jazz history to be awarded with that honor. Griff spent ten years with the Jazz before seeing his jersey raised to the rafters.

The only other player to wear 35 for Cheap Mark Eaton Jersey the Jazz was Ollie Johnson who played 45 games for the New Orleans Jazz in 1975.

39 – Greg Ostertag*

Tag makes our list twice!

I don’t like honoring players twice on this list for wearing different numbers but only 6 players in NBA history have ever worn 39 and, before Dwight Howard chose that number when he re-joined the Lakers this year, Ostertag was probably Cheap Mike Brown Jersey the best of them. As noted in part 1, Tag was an important part of the Jazz Finals teams in the 90s. During most of his years in Utah, Ostertag wore 00. For some reason I have been unable to discover1, Ostertag chose to change his Cheap Pete Maravich Jersey number from 00 to 39 for the 2000 and 2001 seasons. Beginning with the 2002 season until he finished his time in Utah, he returned to 00.

So, anyway, Ostertag – the best and only 39 in Jazz history and the former best 39 in NBA history. He must have been so disappointed when Dwight took his number.

40 – Shandon Anderson

Another 90s-era rotation guy.

Several players who wore 40 for the Jazz made a big enough impact for the team that they were given consideration here. Mike Brown played an important and memorable rotational role for the Jazz for 5 seasons in the Cheap Raja Bell Jersey early 90s. More recently, Jeremy Evans spent five seasons with the Jazz playing mostly spot minutes but memorably winning the 2012 NBA dunk contest.

Despite some memorable times with both Brown and Evans, the honor here goes to Shandon Anderson. Anderson only spent three seasons with the Jazz but earned a spot in the rotation as a rookie on the 1997 Finals team and increased his minutes as Jeff Hornacek’s back-up in each of the following seasons. Following the lockout shortened  Cheap Rudy Gobert Jersey 1999 season, Anderson chose to sign with the Rockets as a free agent.

41 – Thurl Bailey

Bailey was a major scorer, topping out at 19 points per game.

Before he was a regular in the commentary booth for the Jazz, Big T was a major contributor to Jazz teams in the 80s and early 90s. Thurl spent the majority of his NBA career with the Jazz after being drafted 7th overall in 1983 before Cheap Thurl Bailey Jersey he was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Ty Corbin. So, in a sense, Thurl Bailey helped bring the Ty Corbin era.

After a few seasons with the Timberwolves, Bailey played professionally overseas before returning to Utah toward the end of the 1999 season then retiring.

Bailey is really the only player worth considering for the top 41 in Jazz history. Other players to wear 41 include Kosta Koufos and Trey Lyles.

42 – Donyell Marshall

The Jazz acquired Marshall to try and extend Malone’s and Stockton’s window.

Only four players have ever worn 42 for the Jazz and Donyell Marshall’s impact in his two short seasons with the team stands above the Cheap Bojan Bogdanovic Jersey other 3. Marshall averaged 14.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists for the Jazz, mostly as a starter. Although he was only with the Jazz a short time, I still remember him fondly. After his playing days, Marshall moved on to a coaching career; he is currently coaching college ball for the Central Connecticut Blue Devils.

The other 42s in Jazz history are current University of Utah head coach, Larry Krystkowiak who came off the bench for the Jazz in the 1991-92 season and the late-career versions of Tom Gugliotta and Tom Chambers, both well Cheap Georges Niang Jersey removed from their prior All-Star days by the time they joined the Jazz.

43 – Kris Humphries

The Jazz’s had never selected in the current version of the NBA Draft Lottery until they grabbed Humphries in 2004.

None of the players who have worn 43 for the Jazz have accomplished much while with the Jazz (they all averaged less than five points per game in Utah). I’m going to give the nod here to Kris Humphries. The Jazz selected Humphries with the 14th pick in the 2004 NBA draft and he spent a couple unremarkable years with the Jazz before being sent to Toronto as part of a trade package for Rafael Araújo. Humphries went on to have a long and reasonably successful NBA career. His most memorable time in the Cheap Miye Oni Jersey NBA came while he was playing with the Nets and briefly married Kim Kardashian.

Among other 43s in Jazz history is former Grizzlies’ head coach Marc Iavaroni, who warmed the bench for the Jazz in the late 80s.

44 – Bojan Bogdanovic

Bogey is already one of the best free agent signings the Jazz have ever scored.

Despite being in just his first season with the Jazz, I have little hesitation in naming Bojan Bogdanovic as the top 44 in team history. The only real competition comes from Pete Maravich, but the number 7 is on the jersey hanging in the rafters for Maravich. Because Maravich has already been honored as the best #7 in team history and because he only wore 44 with the Jazz for his first season in New Orleans, I can’t justify giving him the honor here. Another 44, Greg Foster, was an important role player for the late 90s title runs but, unless my memory fails me, Foster never hit two game winning 3s Authentic Jazz Jerseys in the same season. Bogey wins. (That those game-winners came against the league-leading Bucks and rival Rockets only makes them sweeter.)

P.S. Kyrylo Fesenko forever.

45 – Donovan Mitchell

Didn’t take Mitchell long to claim the best #45 ever title.

All due respect to Mike Bibby’s dad and Chocolate Thunder, but this one is a no-brainer. Shortly after Gordon Hayward let the world know he was signing with the Celtics, the Jazz faced off against the Celtics in Summer League. Donovan poked the ball away from 2nd overall pick, Jayson Tatum and then faced him down after getting fouled on the breakaway. The very next play, he crossed Tatum over, found the open man and, if they weren’t already, Jazz fans were in love.

Mitchell’s scoring outbursts against the Nuggets this summer only show how high his ceiling can be. Hopefully his best years in a Jazz uniform are yet to come.

47 – Andrei Kirilenko

The versatile, electric, enigmatic Kirilenko.

The only player to wear 47 would likely be the best player to wear 47 even if the number were more popular. AK-47 was a man before his time. A switchable defensive monster, Kirilenko was named to 3 All-Defensive teams during his ten seasons in Utah and was named to the All-Star team in 2004.

When Utah lucked into signing Carlos Boozer, it may have harmed AK’s ceiling as it pushed him to play the 3 instead of the 4. Nonetheless, Kirilenko had an incredible impact on the Jazz in the early to mid 2000s. If he played in today’s NBA you could imagine him fulfilling a role closer to the one that Draymond Green perfected with the Warriors.

50 – Felton Spencer

Fun fact: Spencer and former Jazz coach Frank Layden share a birthday.

Before there was Tag there was Felton Spencer. The Jazz sent Mike Brown to Minnesota in 1993 to bring back Spencer. Spencer was a serviceable starting center for 3 seasons in the mid-90s. Eventually traded for a package of players and a draft pick that would be used to select Andrei Kirilenko, Spencer’s time with the Jazz was brief but he was part of some good Jazz teams.

Other 50s in Jazz history include big men Ike Austin and “Gentle” Ben Poquette.

51 – Michael Ruffin

A dirty-work forward on Utah’s mid-2000s squad.

Michael Ruffin played 41 total games for the Jazz in 2004 averaging 2.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1 assist per game. He started 24 of those games and was helpful in the Jazz far outperforming expectations the year after Stockton left. The only other players to wear 51 for the Jazz were Carl Kilpatrick who played 2 games and 6 total minutes for the Jazz in 1980 and Aleksandar Radojević who made it to 3 games and 8 minutes in 2005.

52 – Bill Robinzine

Tragic ending for Robinzine.

Bill Robinzine was the most impactful 52 in Jazz history. He played mostly limited minutes for the Jazz during the 1981-82 season averaging 5.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and .9 assists in 11.6 minutes per game. During the season, then Jazz GM Frank Layden told him that he didn’t see a role for him with the Jazz and that he should focus on marketing his skills as a free agent in a reserve role.

Following a summer in which no NBA teams offered him a contract, the 29-year old sadly decided to end his own life.

53 – Mark Eaton

Eaton was a one-time All-Star.

Deciding which player to honor as the best to wear a number is a lot easier when that number has been retired in the player’s honor. Mark Eaton was a 2-time defensive player of the year, the only Jazzman to earn that honor until Gobert.

Eaton was a large man who specialized on one side of the court. The current NBA record holder for blocks in a season (456) and the record holder for most blocks-per-game (5.56) Eaton was a defensive beast who didn’t offer very much on the offensive side. Still, if the timing had been just a little bit different, one can imagine the Jazz with Eaton instead of Ostertag defeating the ’97 and ’98 Bulls.

54 – James Donaldson

Donaldson spent his twilight years with the Jazz.

Dukes Donaldson is best remembered for his 7 seasons in Dallas where he played well enough to earn himself an All-Star bid in 1988. The Jazz signed a 35-year-old Donaldson at the end of the 1993 season after Mark Eaton’s back shut him down for what would turn out to be the end of his career. At the time, Donaldson hadn’t played since being waived by the Knicks in March of 1992 and he only made 6 appearances for the Jazz.

Despite Eaton’s retirement, the 1993-94 Jazz didn’t have a place for Donaldson after trading for Felton Spencer and drafting Luther Wright out of Seton Hall. While Spencer found a place on the Jazz for the next several years, it was clear Wright was not going to work out early on and, after playing a year overseas, the Jazz signed a 37-year-old Donaldson to be their backup center before the 1994-95 season. Donaldson didn’t have much left in the tank and was cut in December of 1994.

Melvin Turpin and Mikki Moore also received consideration as the best 54 in Jazz history.

55 – Antoine Carr

Carr was an important part of the Finals runs.

The Big Dog was a much beloved role player on the 90s Jazz teams. A 6’9″ ‘tweener who had a hard time finding his place in the 90s’ NBA, Carr played multiple positions for the Jazz but primarily saw minutes as Malone’s backup.

Full of personality and energy, Carr was never going to be the best player on the Jazz but his positive attitude made him a fan favorite.

Former BYU standout Araujo also received a good portion of response from fans, but his one season with the Jazz was mostly unremarkable.

99 – JAE CROWDER

WHO DOESN”T LOVE THEM SOME JAE?

THE ONLY 99 IN JAZZ HISTORY IS ALSO THE BEST 99 IN JAZZ HISTORY! JAE IS MAKING WAVES CURRENTLY AS HE IS PLAYING AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS FOR THE MIAMI HEAT. THE BOSSMAN WAS A RUMORED TRADE TARGET FOR THE JAZZ IN A POTENTIAL SIGN AND TRADE AFTER GORDON HAYWARD DECIDED TO SIGN WITH THE CELTICS. IT DIDN’T HAPPEN THEN, BUT THE JAZZ WERE ABLE TO ACQUIRE HIM FROM THE CAVALIERS IN A LATER TRADE. HIS FATHER, COREY CROWDER, PLAYED FOR THE JAZZ IN THE EIGHTIES. THE JAZZ INCLUDED JAE IN THE TRADE PACKAGE FOR MIKE CONLEY AND THEY MISSED HIS LEADERSHIP AND PHYSICALITY THIS YEAR!!!