UTAH JAZZ

Ryan Smith Says Pelicans GM Once Asked Him For ‘Jazz’ Name Back

Jun 7, 2024, 4:47 PM

Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith and guard Jordan Clarkson...

Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith and guard Jordan Clarkson (Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

(Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Jazz and NHL owner Ryan Smith joined the KSL Sports Zone to talk about all things basketball and hockey in Utah.

Smith shared a funny story from a few years back when a New Orleans Pelicans front-office member asked for the ‘Jazz’ name back.

“I’ll never forget my first preseason game,” Smith said. “One of the GMs from the Pelicans came up and said, ‘Can we have that name back?’ I didnt know what to say. You guys have the Saints, that’s probably more appropriate here. Why don’t we just do a swap?”

It was clearly a light-hearted conversation stemming from the history between New Orleans, Utah, and the NBA.

However, it raises an interesting question. What if the Pelicans were actually interested in getting the Jazz name back?

Unfortunately for the Crescent City, Utah is too attached to the name at this point.

“There’s nothing wrong with our Jazz history,” Smith said. “Our Jazz history is incredible and you’ve got people who are a part of different portions of it.”

RELATED: Ryan Smith Calls Acquiring NHL Team ‘As Aggressive, Crazy As Anything’ In Career

Smith went on to acknowledge that the Jazz name isn’t the best fit for the state.

But, what matters is the people have welcomed the team since its arrival in 1979 and have grown to love Mountain Basketball.

“The Jazz brand is definitely a trickier one than many in the NBA,” Smith said. “If you look at Boston or Chicago or San Antonio, these are very different than coming from New Orleans and (already) having a name.”

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Chandler Holt is a co-host for the Jazz Notes podcast and a Digital Sports Producer for KSLSports.com, specializing in all things basketball and football. Follow Chandler on Twitter @ChandlerHoltKSL or on Threads @chandlerho1t.

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Ryan Smith Says Pelicans GM Once Asked Him For ‘Jazz’ Name Back