Delta Center Name Recalls Top Utah Sports Memories

SALT LAKE CITY – On Saturday the Utah Jazz announced that their home arena would be renamed the Delta Center.

That’s the same name the building held when it opened to the public in 1991 becoming the premiere destination for sporting events, concerts, and entertainment in the state of Utah.

Here’s a look back at the top moments from the Delta Center Era.

Related: The Delta Center Set To Return In July

Welcome back to the Delta Center!

In July, @vivintarena will officially be rebranded as the Delta Center ahead of the 50th anniversary of the @UtahJazz franchise. #takeNote

— KSL Sports (@kslsports) January 14, 2023

Delta Center Top Moments

Delta Center Debuts On October 4, 1991

After breaking ground in May of 1990, the Delta Center opened to the public less than a year and a half later in October of 1991.

Then Jazz owner Larry H. Miller oversaw the creation of the building as the franchise and city had outgrown the 12,000-seat Salt Palace that hosted the Jazz after their move to Utah.

The team christened the Delta Center with their first win in the building on November 9, 1991 against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Jazz Host 1993 All Star Game

Shortly after the Delta Center made its debut, then commissioner David Stern awarded the 1993 NBA All-Star Game to the state of Utah.

The All-Star weekend was not without its hiccups after Michael Jordan declined to make himself available to the media in Salt Lake City as he spent the week leading up to the game golfing in Las Vegas.

The three-point contest was won by Cleveland Cavaliers sharpshooter Mark Price, while Miami Heat guard Harold Miner won the dunk contest after Seattle SuperSonics All-Star Shawn Kemp backed out of the event.

Here is a report filed by the late Doug Miller in 1993 recapping the 1993 All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City. The city gets to experience this again in 2023. @KSL5TV @kslsports #TakeNote #UtahJazz #NBAAllStar2023 #NBA

— Jeremiah Jensen (@JJSportsBeat) October 23, 2019

The All-Star game itself couldn’t have gone any better for fans in the state, however.

Jazz legend Karl Malone led the Western Conference All-Stars with 28 points and 10 rebounds on 11-of-17 shooting.

John Stockton added a game-high 15 assists to go with nine points as he and Malone were named co-MVPs of the game.

Jazz Go To Back-To-Back Finals, Host Flu Game

After more than a decade of disappointing playoff exits, Stockton and Malone finally led the Jazz to the NBA Finals in 1997 after eliminating the rival Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals.

The Jazz would beat the Chicago Bulls 104-93 in Game 3 of the Finals, the first time the Championship series was played at the Delta Center.

The team would even the series at 2-2 in Game 4 before dropping falling to the Bulls in Game 5, Jordan’s infamous flu game.

The Jazz would again host the Finals in 1998, opening the series against the Bulls at the Delta Center with an 88-85 win to take a 1-0 series lead.

However, that marks the last Finals game the Jazz have in their home arena, falling to the Bulls 4-2 in 1998.

Delta Center Becomes Salt Lake Ice Center

Due to International Olympic Committee policies, the Delta Center had to drop its corporate sponsorship during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

The Ice Center hosted figure skating and short-track speed skating over the two week event.

American Sarah Hughes took home the gold medal for Ladies’ singles figure skating while Michelle Kwan took home the bronze.

It’s easy to see why @ApoloOhno is the most decorated 🇺🇸 winter Olympian… Relive it all in this Gold Medal Moment presented by @HERSHEYS! #TasteTheGold

— Team USA (@TeamUSA) December 14, 2017

Timothy Goebel took home a bronze medal in men’s singles.

In short-track speed skating, Apolo Anton Ohno took home gold in the 1,500 meters race and silver in the 1000 meters.

American Rusty Smith won bronze in the 500-meter short track race.

Stockton, Malone Statues Installed At Delta Center

On March 26, 2006, Malone rejoined Stockton one final time to cement their legacies at the Delta Center.

The Jazz unveiled Stockton’s statue on May 30, 2005, less than a year before Malone would join his Hall of Fame teammate just off John Stockton Drive and Karl Malone Drive on the Southeast corner of the arena.

March 23, 2006: On this day 14 years ago the @utahjazz unveil the statue of @TheDeliverer_32 and retire his jersey.

“I don’t think there’s one guy on this team that don’t wanna win…’cause losin’ suck!”#KSSLSportsArchive #TakeNote

— Jeremiah Jensen (@JJSportsBeat) March 23, 2020

“This isn’t about John or Karl,” Stockton said about the statues, “it’s a representation of a time in this franchise’s history and the NBA’s history.”

Inside the Delta Center, Stockton became the NBA’s all-time assist and steals leader while Malone retired as the NBA’s second all-time leading scorer.

History of the Arena

The arena was built in 1991 under the title Delta Center. The Jazz moved to the arena after spending the early years of the franchise in the Salt Palace.

Delta retained the naming rights until 2006 when EnergySolutions bid for the title.

Related: The Top Moments From The Vivint Arena Era

The arena was called EnergySolutions Arena from 2006-2015 when Utah-based home security company Vivint Smart Home bought the naming rights. Vivint was set to own the team’s naming rights through 2025.

In December, it was announced NRG Energy, Inc. would purchase Vivint Smart Home it was announced NRG Energy, Inc. would purchase Vivint Smart Home for $12 per share or $2.8 billion in an all-cash transaction.

The Jazz invested $125-million into the arena in 2015 to bring it up to date with competing buildings across the NBA.

$125 million transformation begins @vivintarena to be completed fall 2017 with top-to-bottom upgrades to benefit all guests. #arenarising

— Utah Jazz Doing Good (@JazzDoingGood) September 21, 2016

The upgrades included extended indoor entrances to keep ticket holders out of the frigid outdoor weather. Every seat in the arena was revamped to more comfortable padded chairs, while in-arena amenities were upgraded, including increased restaurant and team store options.

In October of 2019, the Jazz were awarded the 2023 NBA All-Star Game after the Jazz revealed the upgrades to the Vivint Smart Home Arena.

Vivint Arena shortened the name from Vivint Smart Home Arena in August of 2020.

Ben Anderson is the KSL Sports insider for the Utah Jazz 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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