Michael Jordan Still Haunts Jazz Fans, Who Got Air Jordan Shirt Pulled
Perhaps no other NBA franchise was left with more scars from the Michael Jordan era than the Utah Jazz. Those scars may not be fully healed for some fans, who recently led a social media revolt over Jazz team merchandise.
Plenty of other teams suffered through Jordan’s reign, of course. The Seattle SuperSonics nearly broke through in 1996 but came up two wins short in the NBA Finals. The Orlando Magic were denied a title during their iteration of the Shaquille O’Neal era. Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns came close but never won.
From 1991 to 1998, the only team to win a championship other than the Bulls was the Houston Rockets, who won two straight in 1994 and 1995 when Jordan took a brief hiatus to play baseball.
But the Jazz might have the strongest claim to pain.
Utah made the playoffs for 13 straight seasons from 1984 to 1996 before they finally broke through and made the Finals in 1997. Led by the star tandem of John Stockton and Karl Malone, the Jazz then made the Finals twice in a row, but both times, Jordan and the Bulls denied the franchise its first title.
Since, the Jazz have never achieved a similar level of success, and other than a run to the Western Conference Finals in 2007 (which ended against Tim Duncan and the Spurs) they have never made it out of the second round despite fielding several solid teams.
So maybe Jazz fans can be excused for being less-than-enthused by the design of this Air Jordan t-shirt, which the Jazz were selling from their team store earlier this week. An X (formerly Twitter) user spotted the design and sent out a tweet that went viral with the fanbase.
The implication of the tweet, of course, is that Jordan is leaping over the Jazz franchise, which is a sensation Jazz fans of a certain age can probably remember all too clearly.
The design itself wasn’t intended to be a shot at Jazz fans. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the shirt is a league-wide design. The NBA expanded its partnership with Air Jordan prior to the 2020-21 season, which included Statement Edition jerseys featuring the iconic logo.
Still, Jazz fans were less than thrilled and took to social media to express their displeasure.
Per the Salt Lake Tribune, a team spokesperson confirmed that fan outrage caused the shirt to be pulled from the store.
The Jazz tip off their regular-season slate against the Kings on Oct. 25, presumably with a team store purged of the offensive merchandise.