Utah Jazz Show Off Retro Stars Shooting Shirts
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell caused a minor stir on Twitter Wednesday night when photos emerged of him wearing a shooting shirt with the word Stars on it. The Stars were the first major professional basketball team to play in Utah between 1970-1976. The Stars won the ABA championship in 1971, making next season the 50th anniversary of the only professional basketball championship in the state of Utah.
But fans hoping to see the Jazz honor their ABA forefathers with branded Utah Stars gear next season may be disappointed. When Mitchell joined a video media conference call Thursday, the long sleeve hooded shirt was revealed to be a Salt Lake City Stars shirt, the Jazz G-League affiliate, and not that of the ABA’s Utah Stars.
Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell repped the vintage Utah Stars gear during today’s Zoom call. The Stars won the ABA title in 1971. pic.twitter.com/YPBrk1lQil
— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) July 16, 2020
Though Mitchell said he liked retro look, the hooded shirt served as a little more than a convenience for the All-Star guard.
“I thought it was a pretty cool to have a little throwback Stars sweatshirt,” Mitchell told KSL Sports. “And I like shooting in sleeves like this. So that’s really the story behind it. There wasn’t really anything else.”
Jazz coach Quin Snyder was the driving force behind the Salt Lake City Stars gear being featured in Orlando. Snyder, who frequently wears Stars apparel at team practice and shootaround, picked the design.
The logo features the Utah Stars font, but carries the Salt Lake City Stars SLC basketball logo over the red, white, and blue ABA ball.
Snyder is a strong proponent of the G-League. The coach spent three seasons with the Austin Toros between 2007-2010, the then D-League affiliate of the San Antonio Spurs. Snyder was named Coach of the Year or the Toros in 2009.
Currently, the imitation Stars sweatshirt isn’t available at the online G-League store.
History of the Utah Stars
The Utah Stars were in their first season in the Beehive State in the ABA when they won their lone championship. The Stars beat the Colonels in seven games with a 131-121 victory in Game 7 at the Salt Palace.
Future Hall of Famer Zelmo Beaty had 36 points and 16 rebounds in the win. Forward Willie Wise added 22 points and 20 rebounds of his own.
Jazz radio color analyst Ron Boone was also a member of the Stars championship run. He May, he sat down with KSL Sports to discuss the team’s success.
“The crowd was unbelievable,” Boone stated. “You are talking about playing at the Salt Palace with 12,000 seats. The crowd was right there on top of you. It was a huge celebration.”
After the championship win, the fans hoisted Willie Wise and Zelmo Beaty.
“I remember clearly,” Wise said. “I don’t remember who hoisted me up but it was Zelmo (Beaty) and me, I think there was a mutual adoration with the fans.”
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