A recent ESPN graphic stared circling the web that mistakenly pinned the Utah Jazz as NBA Champions in 1998.
One of the most gut-wrenching, painful parts of being a Utah Jazz fan is the fact that the beloved teams of 1997 and 1998 that went to the NBA Finals came up just short, losing to the Chicago Bulls both times and ultimately leaving NBA legends John Stockton and Karl Malone without a ring for their career.
From the “Flu Game” to the push-off against Bryon Russell and everything in between, those championship series live on in the nightmares of Jazz fans, despite the fact that the road to arrive to each of them was exhilarating. It’s bad enough to have actually lived through them, but the fact that those defeating moments are replayed in highlight clip after highlight clip and serve as constant reminders makes it even worse.
Nevertheless, the cold hard reality is that the Utah Jazz have yet to bring a championship to Salt Lake City as they failed to win the title in either of those two seasons. Or did they?
According to a recent ESPN graphic discussing the most days off heading into the NBA Finals (that stems from the fact that the Golden State Warriors will have nine full days off between their Conference Finals victory and Game 1 against the Cleveland Cavaliers), the Utah Jazz did in fact win the 1998 NBA Championship. Check it out in the tweet below:
This is epic! This is monumental! I’ve been living a lie for the past 19 years! The Jazz actually did it!
Or ESPN just made a mistake…yeah that sounds a lot more probable and quite frankly not the least bit surprising. In fact, it’s pretty easy to see what went wrong here. The San Antonio Spurs did win in 1999, so the “Yes” after the Jazz in 1998 should actually be swapped with the “No” above it that’s incorrectly referring to the Spurs.
Sure, it was just a little typo that could have happened to anyone, but it’s still somewhat comical (though also a horrifically gut-wrenching reminder all at the same time). And some of the hilarity that ensued on social media afterwards made it even better:
Well if ESPN says it happened… when’s the retroactive parade? H/t @ithinkdit pic.twitter.com/gpPxQ0x8Cd
— dan clayton (@danclayt0n) May 27, 2017
But all jokes aside, unfortunately pinning the Jazz as 1998 NBA Champions was nothing more than a typo and a reminder that reality can be cold, hard and devastating.
Fortunately, the Jazz are coming off their first playoff series win since 2010 and seem to be headed nowhere but up. Of course, Gordon Hayward’s offseason decision will have an enormous impact on the franchise’s future, but regardless of what happens there it’s still a great time to be a Jazz fan.
And hopefully in the not too distant future, a “Yes” can be placed next to the Utah Jazz as NBA Champions without it being a simple error as it was today.