WIRTH WATCHING: The history of pro-basketball in Utah


UTAH (ABC4) – This year didn’t quite end the way folks had hoped for the Utah Jazz… but the fans did prove Utah is fanatical when it comes to pro basketball. In four short months—it will start all over again as the NBA gears up for its next season.

According to Craig Wirth, the excitement over pro basketball isn’t a new phenomenon. Wirth says its roots actually can go back a half century. He says they can be practically traced to one night in 1971.

“It was 50 years ago, a red, white and blue basketball and a brand new Salt Palace arena. Oh it was the groovy 1970s. Pro basketball had arrived. A big deal since little ol’ Salt Lake City had rescued the big city Los Angeles Stars Basketball team,” Wirth recalls.

The historian states this shift came months before the NBA season in 1978 and many were ecstatic as the season began.

“It seemed as if everyone was singing the same song,” Wirth chimes.

Tune in every Sunday at 10 p.m. to watch Wirth Watching exclusives unfold or check them out online, every Monday morning.

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