Top 50 Utah Jazz Players Countdown: #8 Mark Eaton

Oct 12, 2023, 11:30 AM

Mark Eaton #53 of the Utah Jazz...

Mark Eaton #53 of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The countdown for KSL Sports’ 50 greatest Utah Jazz players has reached single digits and coming in at number eight is center Mark Eaton.

Leading up to the tip-off of the 50th season in Jazz history, Jake Scott and Ben Anderson have been counting down the top 50 players in franchise history as voted on by fans and the media.

Here’s a look at Mark Eaton’s career with the Jazz.

Jazz 50: Rank No. 8 – Mark Eaton

Originally selected by the Phoenix Suns in the fifth round of the 1979 NBA Draft, Eaton chose to become a car mechanic, seemingly putting basketball behind him.

However, Eaton was again selected by the Jazz in the third round of the 1982 draft and was convinced to join the team by then-head coach and general manager Frank Layden.

Standing 7-foot-4, Eaton is one of the tallest players in NBA history, and quickly made his impact felt in Utah starting the final 32 games of his rookie season with the Jazz.

By year two Eaton was one of the most intimidating rim protectors in the NBA, leading the league in blocked shots, a feat he’d reach in four of his next five seasons.

During his 11-year career, Eaton was a five-time member of the NBA’s All-Defensive team, earned the Defensive Player of the Year in 1985 and 1989, and joined teammates Karl Malone and John Stockton in the 1989 All-Star game.

Eaton averaged 6.0 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks per game in 875 games with the Jazz as the team qualified for the postseason in 10 of his 11 years in Utah.

“Big Mark” holds the NBA record for career blocked shot average at 3.5 per game, and the single-season average at 5.6 blocks per game in 1985.

Eaton is among the Jazz’s top ten all-time franchise leaders in games played (third), minutes played (third), offensive rebounds (third), defensive rebounds (third), total rebounds (third), blocks (first), triple-doubles (second), rebounds per game (eighth), and blocks per game (first).

The number 53 was retired by the Jazz in honor of Eaton in 1996. Eaton passed away in 2021 at the age of 64.

Follow the rest of the Jazz 50 countdown with Jake and Ben Monday through Friday at 11:30 leading up to the opening day of the regular season. You can see the full list here.

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.

Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Top 50 Utah Jazz Players Countdown: #8 Mark Eaton