The Utah Jazz are an American professional basketball team based in Salt Lake City. The Jazz compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Western Conference, Northwest Division. Since the 1991–92 season, the team has played its home games at Vivint Arena. The franchise began play as an expansion team in the 1974–75 season as the New Orleans Jazz (as a tribute to New Orleans' history of originating jazz music). The Jazz relocated to Salt Lake City prior to the 1979–80 season.
The Jazz were one of the least successful teams in the league in their early years. Although 10 seasons elapsed before the Jazz qualified for their first playoff appearance in 1984, they did not miss the playoffs again until 2004. During the late 1980s, John Stockton and Karl Malone arose as the franchise players for the team and formed one of the most famed pick and roll duos in NBA history. Led by coach Jerry Sloan, who took over from Frank Layden in 1988, they became one of the powerhouse teams of the 1990s, culminating in two NBA Finals appearances in 1997 and 1998, where they lost both times to the Chicago Bulls, led by Michael Jordan.
Both Stockton and Malone moved on in 2003. After missing the playoffs for three consecutive seasons the Jazz returned to prominence under the on-court leadership of point guard Deron Williams. However, partway through the 2010–11 season, the Jazz began restructuring after Sloan's retirement and Williams' trade to the New Jersey Nets. Quin Snyder was hired as head coach in June 2014. With the development of Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell into All-Stars, the Jazz launched themselves back into title contention, eventually earning the league's best regular season record in the 2020–21 season.
On June 7, 1974, the New Orleans Jazz were admitted as an expansion franchise into the National Basketball Association (NBA). Team officials selected the name because of its definition in the dictionary: collective improvisation. The team began its inaugural season in New Orleans in the 1974–75 season. The team's first major move was to trade for star player Pete Maravich (who had played college basketball at LSU) from the Atlanta Hawks for two first-round draft picks, three second-round picks, and one third-round pick over the next three years. Although he was considered one of the most entertaining players in the league and won the scoring championship for the 1976–77 season with 31.1 points per game, the Jazz's best record while in New Orleans was 39–43 in the 1977–78 season. Maravich struggled with knee injuries from that season onward.