NBA basketball didn’t exactly take Salt Lake City, Utah by storm when the New Orleans Jazz relocated to the Intermountain West in 1979. The team decided to keep the nickname they used in New Orleans despite Salt Lake City’s negligible reputation as a jazz hotbed. It was also the smallest market in the NBA at the time and had only a nominal history of supporting professional sports–minor league hockey and the Utah Stars of the defunct American Basketball Association (ABA). There was so much about the entire situation that seemed like a bad joke.
The Utah Jazz played their first home game in front of a largely indifferent crowd at the half full Salt Palace arena. That game was a microcosm of the team’s first few years in Salt Lake City, which featured personnel moves and front office shenanigans that bordered on comical. Attendance was poor, and the fans that did show up were often more interested in the visiting team. The team was horrible on the court and off the court were alternately on the verge of insolvency or headed out of town. Management bungled high draft picks year after year and in 1984 Jazz fans had seen enough, relentlessly booing when Utah chose a skinny, undersized and unknown guard from Gonzaga.
That guard was John Stockton, who went on to become the NBA’s all-time leader in assists and steals. About this time, things started to come together for the long-suffering Jazz. Local auto dealership magnate Larry H. Miller bought 50% of the team and eventually full ownership in order to keep the Jazz in Utah. In 1985, Utah used the 13th pick to draft forward Karl Malone out of Louisiana Tech. ‘The Mailman’ would become the dominant power forward of his generation and retire as the second leading scorer in NBA history. They hired Jerry Sloan as head coach in 1988 and the Jazz started to transform into a Western Conference powerhouse.
Improbably, within a decade the Utah Jazz had gone from being the biggest laughing stock in the league on and off the court to a one of the NBA’s most successful franchises. They reached the NBA Finals twice in the late 1990’s and qualified for the playoffs in 20 consecutive seasons (1984 to 2004). They no longer played in a half full Salt Palace but sold out the brand new 19,911 seat Delta Center (now the Energy Solutions Arena) game after game. Most impressively the fan base was now far from indifferent, and the Delta Center became known as the loudest arena in the NBA and a downright miserable place for opposing teams.
The good news for their passionate fan base is that it’s very easy to watch Jazz games live. They frequently appear on national TNT and ESPN telecasts. Hardcore fans are no doubt aware of the NBA League Pass package, which gives subscribers the choice of every televised game. The television platforms also provide every scheduled streaming Jazz basketball game online. The NBA League pass has a comprehensive online presence for viewing games while TNT and ESPN have good, though more limited, offerings.
For many fans, the best way to follow their team is to watch Utah Jazz online for free via live streaming feeds. There are live streams available for just about every game in every imaginable sport. You can find streaming information at one of the several websites that compile a directory of the sports and games available including Wiziwig, First Row Sports, VIP Box sports and Sports Lemon TV. New sites come online frequently, and the older sites change their web address from time to time, so it’s a good idea to do a Google search to get the latest information.
With the worldwide popularity of NBA basketball, you should have no trouble finding a streaming video feed or a radio stream for tonight’s game. You’ll be able to choose from a variety of streaming speeds so you can find the one that works best with your Internet connection. You then have the option of watching on your computer, streaming to your tablet or using a set-top box (such as a Roku player or Amazon FireTV device) to watch it on your television set. No matter what the TV sports networks are broadcasting there’s plenty of ways to watch Jazz games live whenever and where ever you want!