26 Years Ago: John Stockton Sends Utah Jazz To NBA Finals

May 29, 2023, 10:00 AM | Updated: 11:41 am

SALT LAKE CITY – 26 years ago, basketball fans in the Beehive State celebrated after NBC’s Greg Gumbel declared, “John Stockton sends the Utah Jazz to the NBA Finals.”

On May 29, 1997, the Rockets hosted the Jazz for Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. Utah entered the matchup with a 3-2 series lead.

With less than three seconds remaining on the game clock and the game tied 100-100, Karl Malone set a screen near the top of the three-point arc to create an open space for Stockton. Bryon Russell inbounded the ball to Stockton, who took one dribble toward the hoop and rose up for a shot over Rockets forward Charles Barkley.

RELATED: Karl Malone’s ‘Dream Team’ Collection Sells For Over $5M At Auction

Stockton’s shot sailed through the cylinder as time expired to give Utah a 103-100 victory and a 4-2 win in the series.

@kslsportscom Is this the best shot in Utah Jazz history? 🤔 #TakeNote #nbaplayoffs #fyp #utahjazz ♬ 852 Hz Third Eye Chakra (Manifestation) – Sound Bath & Chakra Sound Bath & Solfeggio Sound Bath

After the shot, Stockton’s teammates and coaches ran to mid-court to celebrate the franchise’s first trip to the NBA Finals.

Stockton finished the contest with 25 points and 13 assists. Malone posted 24 points and 11 rebounds. Jeff Hornacek chipped in 18 points, while Greg Ostertag added 16 points and 14 rebounds. Russell recorded 15 points.

The Jazz went on to face the Chicago Bulls in the Finals. After losing the opening two games of the championship series, the Jazz even things up with victories in Games 3 and 4. The Bulls bounced back with two consecutive wins to defeat the Jazz and win the NBA title.

A year later, Utah and Chicago met again in the NBA Finals. Once again, the Bulls took the title with a 4-2 series win.

The two straight trips to the Finals still remain as Utah’s only appearances in the championship series.

Last season, the Jazz missed the postseason with a 37-45 record.

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, video and stay up to date on all of your favorite teams.

  • Utah Jazz Scoreboard

  • Utah Jazz Team Leaders

  • Utah Jazz Standings

Utah Jazz

Utah Jazz waive Los Angeles Clippers guard Russell Westbrook...

Chandler Holt

Utah Jazz Officially Waive Guard Russell Westbrook

The Utah Jazz officially waived Russell Westbrook on Saturday, clearing the way for the veteran guard to join his next team via free agency.

22 hours ago

Utah Jazz guard Isaiah Collier...

Ben Anderson

Jazz Fall To Clippers In Vegas Summer League

The Utah Jazz dropped to 2-2 at the Las Vegas Summer League after falling to the Los Angeles Clippers 105-88.

3 days ago

Russell Westbrook #0 of the LA Clippers reacts against the Utah Jazz...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz Trade For Russell Westbrook, Again

For the second time, the Utah Jazz are acquiring Russell Westbrook, this time in a sign and trade for guard Kris Dunn.

3 days ago

Keyonte George NBA Summer League Salt Lake City Utah Jazz...

Chandler Holt

Are NBA Summer League Struggles A Cause For Concern?

The NBA offseason is driven by recency bias and high expectations, with Summer League players feeling that pressure the most.

3 days ago

Utah Jazz forward Taylor Hendricks...

Ben Anderson

Taylor Hendricks Thrives In Jazz Win Over Raptors

Taylor Hendricks had the best performance of his basketball career against the Toronto Raptors scoring 23 points and grabbing nine rebounds.

4 days ago

Utah Jazz Houston Rockets Taylor Hendricks...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz Mailbag: Are Jazz Good At Developing Players?

Welcome to the Utah Jazz mailbag where every week our NBA insiders answer your questions on social media about your favorite team.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles


KSL Sports

Utah Hockey Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Want to get the latest info on Utah's newest sports franchise? Sign up for the Utah Hockey newsletter!


KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.


KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.


KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

26 Years Ago: John Stockton Sends Utah Jazz To NBA Finals