16 years ago today, the most glorious 2.8 seconds in Utah Jazz history concluded with Greg Gumble uttering the sweetest words a Jazz fan has ever heard:
“John Stockton sends the Utah Jazz to the NBA Finals!”
John Stockton – The Shot
The celebration didn’t end Thursday night at The Summit. An estimated 20,000 Jazz fans gathered at 3:00AM to welcome the team plane back from Houston and the players joined in the celebration. Chris Morris rode through the crowd on the hood of a car waving a purple Jazz flag and Antoine Carr high-fived fans with tears in his eyes. For the next two weeks, the entire state of Utah was high on basketball and Jazz fans worldwide were high on the Jazz. With the team in the NBA Finals for the first time ever – there was an outbreak of “Jazz Fever” and it was spreading quickly:
After 23 seasons filled with a combination of disinterest, failure, hope, perseverance, turmoil and heartbreak – the Jazz had finally broken through to the NBA’s grandest stage. They did so in dramatic fashion with a storybook ending authored by one of the franchise’s two-most beloved players.
Until the day comes when the Jazz finally hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy, this will be as good as it gets. And championship or not – this was still pretty good.