There have been several division, conference and national titles won by teams throughout the state of Utah. But which champion deserves the title as the greatest to come out of the state of Utah? A recent poll was conducted and the answers may surprise you.
Of all the great teams listed, only three have received love so far. The 1998 Utah Jazz are the top vote getter as they received 2/3 of the votes. This Jazz team repeated as the Western Conference champion but repeated as the NBA finals runner up as they lost to Michael Jordan in 6 games in two consecutive years. Michael Jordan is considered by many to be the greatest basketball player of all time so the Jazz have nothing to hang their heads about.
The Jazz won 62 games in the 1997-1998 season and defeated the Rockets, Spurs and Lakers in route to their second conference title. The “statues” John Stockton and Karl Malone played a key part in the team’s success as the best dynamic duo in team history. Not many teams can say they have the second leader in career points in NBA history and the NBA leader in career steals and assists.
The 1984 BYU football team was second with 25% of the vote. This team was coached by Lavell Edwards who recently passed away. Brigham Young University defeated Michigan in the Holiday bowl to attain an undefeated season. They were awarded the national title after they were voted the number one team in the land by the AP and Coaches poll.
One person did give some love to our Fútbol team Real Salt Lake. While they might not have the real international popularity that Spanish club Real Madrid does, they did win the MLS Cup in 2009 over the Los Angeles Galaxy. While the postseason does matter, RSL was the first MLS team to win a title after finishing the regular season with a losing record.
Good pro teams and national champion college teams seem to get the most love in the Beehive State. One day a Jazz NBA finals, Ute Rose Bowl title, or the Provo All-Star churchball team might overtake these champions but for now it’s time to look back and recognize greatness when we see it. It doesn’t come around every year like the big pond of California or Texas but when it does then you can hear the buzz in the Beehive State.