Utah Jazz (NBA)

International Players, 2023-24 Season

Lauri MarkkanenForwardFinland2023-24Vantaa, Finland
Luka SamanicForwardCroatia2023-24Zagreb, Croatia
Omer YurtsevenCenterTurkey2023-24Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Utah Jazz Team History

The Utah Jazz, founded in 1974 as the New Orleans Jazz before relocating to Salt Lake City in 1979, have carved out a storied history in the NBA, punctuated by their tradition of embracing international talent. This commitment to global recruitment has not only diversified their roster but also enhanced their competitive edge.

The Jazz continued to tap into overseas talent, a strategy that paid dividends in the early 2000s with the arrival of Andrei Kirilenko from Russia. Kirilenko, a versatile forward known for his defensive prowess and all-around skill set, became a cornerstone of the Jazz’s lineup, earning NBA All-Star and All-Defensive Team honors during his tenure. His impact transcended statistical achievements, as his presence on the court elevated the team’s performance and garnered international attention to the Jazz’s commitment to fostering global basketball talent.

The Jazz’s tradition of international players reached new heights in recent years with the emergence of Rudy Gobert from France. Gobert, a dominant force at the center position, established himself as one of the premier defenders in the league while in Utah, earning multiple NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards. His imposing presence in the paint and ability to alter opponents’ shots have been instrumental in the Jazz’s success, anchoring their defense and propelling them to postseason contention.