Utah Jazz Mount Rushmore
With team success peaking in the 1990s with a certain pick-and-roll tandem leading the way in Salt Lake City, who else joins that duo on the Utah Jazz’s Mount Rushmore?
John Stockton, Guard
The NBA’s all-time leader in assists and steals by large margins, John Stockton played each of his 19 NBA seasons as a member of the Utah Jazz, between 1984 and 2003.
In those 19 seasons, the Jazz made the playoffs each year, culminating in consecutive NBA Finals appearances in 1997 and 1998. Missing only 22 games in 19 seasons, Stockton was the epitome of consistency, blending elite playmaking with tenacious defense to run the Jazz offense to aplomb in the 90s.
By no means was Stockton a slouch when it came to scoring, averaging 13.1 points per game, on 51.5 percent shooting from the field and 88.4 percent from three-point range. During his career, Stockton was a 10 time NBA All-Star (named the MVP in 1993), a two time All-NBA First Team player, a five time All-Defensive Second Team member and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.
Karl Malone, Forward
Stockton’s brilliant passing translated into assists namely due to his pick-and-roll partner - Karl Malone. “The Mailman” dominated the power forward position, spending 18 seasons playing for the Jazz, pouring in 36,928 points during his NBA career (second all-time).
Malone won two NBA MVP awards in 1997 and 1999, and is also tied for the second-most first-team All-NBA selections, with 11. A 14 time NBA All-Star (who won the MVP in 1989 and 1993), Malone was a beast on both ends of the floor, named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team three times.
Like Stockton, Malone was incredibly durable and consistent, missing ten out of a possible 1,444 games in Utah, which helped him maintain a career scoring average of 25 points per game. Deadly in transition, pick-and roll scenarios with Stockton, in the post or in the mid-range, Malone was a force his entire career in Utah, culminating in a Hall of Fame induction in 2010.
Pete Maravich, Guard
“Pistol” Pete Maravich was a shooting guard truly ahead of his time, playing with an eye-catching amount of flair on the offensive end, that wasn’t commonplace during the 1970s.
After a dominant college career and success in Atlanta, Maravich was traded to the expansion-team Jazz. After a difficult first season in a Jazz uniform, Maravich hit his peak, balancing his style with substance, helping him shoot a career high 45.9 percent from the floor, and average 25.9 points per game, which was third in the NBA. This season also gave Maravich his first All-NBA First Team selection.
The offensive wizard upped his game in the next season, leading the NBA in scoring with a career-high 31.1 points per game, highlighted by a 68 point-effort against the New York Knicks, which is the 11th-best scoring game in NBA history.
Despite a short career in a Jazz uniform (1974-1980), Maravich’s impact was lasting, becoming one of the youngest players to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987, while playing transcendent offensive basketball. Passing away at the age of 40 as a result of a heart defect, Maravich’s legacy set the table for future offensive flourish that defines the NBA today.
Jerry Sloan, Coach
Jeff Hornacek or even Rudy Gobert could lay claim to the last spot on Utah’s Mount Rushmore, but it’s hard to leave recently deceased coaching legend Jerry Sloan off this list.
After playing 11 seasons in the NBA for the Baltimore Bullets and the Chicago Bulls, Sloan transitioned into coaching, spending 23 seasons at the helm in Utah.
With a career regular-season win-loss record of 1,221 - 803, Sloan placed third all-time in NBA wins when he retired in 2011. Recognised as a mentor by San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, Sloan was a fiery coach who led the Jazz to 15 consecutive playoff appearances, from 1989 to 2003.
Arguably the greatest NBA coach to not win a championship, Sloan won 98 playoff games, and had a regular-season winning percentage of 60.3 percent. Winning at least 50 games in 13 seasons, Sloan’s Jazz tenure had the team finishing .500 or above in all but three seasons - an outstanding achievement, which led to a 2009 Hall of Fame induction alongside Stockton.
After battling Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia, the universally admired coach passed away on May 22, 2020, leaving behind a long and storied legacy in Salt Lake City.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference and NBA.com