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#pounditMonday, July 15, 2024

Jazz scrap Michael Jordan merchandise after backlash

Michael Jordan in a suit

February 20, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; NBA great Michael Jordan is honored for being selected to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team during halftime in the 2022 NBA All-Star Game at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Somebody in the Utah Jazz marketing department apparently forgot about what happened in the 1990s.

A photo from a Jazz fan went viral this week of a curious item for sale in Utah’s team store. The photo, which you can see here, showed that the Jazz were selling Jumpman T-shirts with the iconic Michael Jordan logo placed above the words “Utah Jazz.”

The viral image led to strong backlash from fans of the Jazz, and the team has apparently adjusted accordingly. A Jazz team spokesperson confirmed to Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune on Tuesday that the team has now pulled the shirt from the shelves in response to the outcry.

Larsen notes that the NBA has a partnership with Jordan Brand and that the Jumpman logo features on team jerseys around the league, including Utah’s black Statement jersey. Additionally, Larsen says, the Jazz T-shirt was derived from a leaguewide design, which many other teams also use.

Nevertheless, it was obvious that the Jumpman shirt was not going to go over well with Utah fans. The Jazz have still never won a championship in their nearly five-decade existence, and it was Jordan and the Chicago Bulls who spoiled their best chance at winning one in the 1990s. Utah produced back-to-back 60 win seasons and back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 1997 and 1998 … only to be defeated by the Bulls in the Finals both times. Jordan ensured that franchise legends John Stockton and Karl Malone (as well as the Jazz franchise as a whole) stayed ringless. Since then, Utah has never again won 60 games in a season or made it to the Finals (with only one lone conference finals appearance back in 2007).

At 60 years old now, Jordan is a bit more of a sympathetic figure these days, especially after exiting as an NBA owner. But it is still probably in Utah’s best interest to mail those Jumpman shirts halfway to Siberia instead.

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