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New Orleans Jazz - Year Two

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New Orleans Jazz - Year Two
The 1975-76 Season

For the 75-76 season, the Jazz moved into their new home, the Louisiana Superdome. In addition to being a sparkling new facility, the Dome enabled many more fans to see the games (too many more, as will later be pointed out). The most expensive seat in the house was $15, while $1.50 got you a general admission seat in the upper-most levels, where you were better off watching the game on the Dome’s large projection-screen TVs.

The Jazz drafted center Rich Kelley out of Stanford as their No. 1 pick (the 7th overall in the NBA draft). The Jazz played rather well under the flamboyant and fiery VBK, having several memorable games that season. For their second game in the Dome, the Jazz played the Knicks before a crowd of 13,108. Earl “the Pearl” Monroe had 38 points for the Knicks, but Pistol Pete was unstoppable for the Jazz. In the waning seconds of the game, Maravich stole the ball from Walt Frazier and scored to send the game into overtime. The Jazz won, and Pistol Pete wound up scoring 45 points.

10 nights later, the Jazz were to set a different kind of mark. Although the team was off to a 5-1 start, and the Lakers (led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) were certainly a draw as the scheduled opponent, the day had been a disaster. An incredible storm had drenched the city with over 8 inches of rain, resulting in widespread flooding. Local streets were impassable, and many homes (including Pete Maravich’s) had standing water in them. It seemed the game might have to be postponed. But the decision was made to hold the game, and the fans, like the rain, began pouring in. Many got there as late as the halftime break, but that didn’t matter. In the 4th quarter, the announcement was made over the Dome’s loudspeaker—the game’s attendance was 26,511-- the largest crowd in NBA history. Incidentally, the Jazz won that game 113-110, to go 6-1.

A New Orleans Jazz triple threat, 1975-76:
(l-r) Aaron James, Otto Moore, Jimmy McElroy

High-scoring games became a staple of the Jazz, and a bonus for fans. Maravich wound up being 3rd in the league in points with a 25.9 per game average. And whenever the team scored more than 110 points, fans could redeem their ticket stubs for free french fries at Burger King. The Jazz could be trailing in the final minutes of a high-scoring game, and instead of cheering “Let’s go, Jazz!” fans would be chanting “Free Fries! Free Fries!”

The Jazz wound up the 75-76 season with a 38-44 record, the best record for any second-year NBA team. It was only enough to keep them out of the Central Division cellar, however, and not enough to get them in the playoffs. The more competitive team and the move to the Superdome were reflected at the gate—the average attendance that year was 12,518, 5th highest in the NBA. Pistol Pete was awarded for his efforts with his 2nd straight appearance in the NBA All-Star Game and a berth on the All-NBA 1st team.

Go to next section: New Orleans Jazz - Year Three: The 1976-77 Season

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