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Jerry Sloan's coaching career included 1,221 wins which is third all-time in NBA coaching wins - Chicago Bulls 1969 publicity photo

 

 

Jerry Sloan finished his coaching career with 1,221 regular-season victories - - (Stephanie Young Merzel photo)

 

 

 

 

SPORTS NOTES - NBA COACH JERRY SLOAN REMEMBERED

James Loving/National Radio Text Service

 

 

Sloan finished his coaching career with 1,221 regular-season victories - Sloan was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009 after a 26-year head-coaching career including 23 with the Jazz and 3 with the Bulls - As a sports and entertainment journalist you meet all kinds of people and personalities. For some reason I always remembered Sloan as being one of the most courteous and respectful people I’ve ever met - He and KC Jones were thought to be, by many, as being TWO of the most LOVED & RESPECTED NBA COACHES - NBA's Greatest All-time TEAM

 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

HE PLAYED & COACHED INTENSELY

The NBA lost one of its greatest individuals and contributors as player and coach. Former Chicago Bulls player and Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan passed away Friday at the age of 78 due to complications from Parkinson's disease.

As a player Sloan was drafted twice by the Bullets, in 1964 he was drafted in the 3rd round and again but moved up in the 1965 drafted to be selected in the 2nd round. In a then nine team league both selections would be a 1st round choice in today's 30 team league.

During his three year college stint at Evansville University Sloan was a consistent performer registering 15.5 ppg. and 12.4 rpg. averages. The 6'5" 200 lb. guard (1.96/90.7) carried that consistency into the NBA.

Sloan played briefly in his rookie season but was selected by the Bulls in the April 30, 1966 NBA Expansion draft. From that point on he averaged 14 points per game during his 11 year career. After a series of knee injuries, he retired in 1976. He scored more than 18 points a game in 1970-71, and had three other seasons of more than 15 points per game. His career rebounding average was 7.4 rebounds per game, with one season having an average of 9.1 rebounds. He was a career 72 percent free throw shooter. His number 4 jersey was subsequently retired by the Chicago Bulls in 1978, becoming the first retired jersey in franchise history.

The feisty one was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009 after a 26-year head-coaching career including 23 with the Jazz and 3 with the Bulls that gave him his first opportunity to be an NBA coach.

Sloan finished his coaching career with 1,221 regular-season victories, behind only Don Nelson and Lenny Wilkens. He was later passed by the San Antonio Spurs' Gregg Popovich; Sloan and Popovich are the only coaches in NBA history to win at least 1,000 games with one team.

Sloan led the Jazz to six division championships and 10 seasons with greater than 50 wins. He also took the Jazz to the NBA Finals twice, losing in 1997 and 1998, both times to his old team, the Michael Jordan-led Bulls. By the end of this period, he had joined Pat Riley and Phil Jackson as the only coaches with 10 or more seasons winning 50 or more games.

Sloan led the Jazz to six division championships and 10 seasons with greater than 50 wins. He also took the Jazz to the NBA Finals twice, losing in 1997 and 1998, both times to his old team, the Michael Jordan-led Bulls. By the end of this period, he had joined Pat Riley and Phil Jackson as the only coaches with 10 or more seasons winning 50 or more games. Those two Jazz teams had their best ever winning seasons with 64 and 62 wins respectively during those championship finals years

Sloan revealed on February 7, 2011, that he had earlier in the year signed a contract extension to coach the Jazz for the 2011-12 season, which would have been his 24th season as head coach with the Jazz. However... on February 10, 2011, Sloan and assistant Phil Johnson resigned their positions effective immediately. Following Sloan's resignation it took six seasons before the Jazz had another 50 win campaign.

He and former Boston Celtics player then coach K.C. Jones were co-recipient of the 2016 "Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award," by the National Basketball Coaches Association. He and Jones were thought to be, by many, as being TWO of the most LOVED & RESPECTED NBA COACHES.

As a sports and entertainment journalist you meet all types of people and personalities. For some reason I always remembered Sloan as being one of the most courteous and respectful people I've ever met in both genres. The weird thing is being that he was coaching the Jazz a team that came to visit the west coast teams once or twice a season, Sloan always stuck out as being one of the most considerate of others.

To clarify that point Bo Jackson displayed one of the most ignorant and abusive behavior to journalists that I have ever seen. Jackson, then with the Kansas City Royals of the MLB (Major League Baseball) refused to do and interview with a three person video production team from JAPAN. They waited patiently at his locker at the then Anaheim Angels Stadium until he finished his shower. They pleaded with him stating that they came from Japan particularly for him. He was abrupt with his NO reply.

I was familiar with Jackson having covered the then Los Angeles Raiders of the NFL (National Football League). After his arrival press conference I approached him and he promptly dismissed having an interview.

To elaborate further on the attitude topic that clarifies what made Jerry Sloan so memorable and special is during my 12 years as a producer/ reporter broadcasting and 25 as a print journalist there are three athletes that stand out as being the most revolting individuals I ever encountered during that time. All of them were baseball players.

In an odd experience when I ventured into the sports field, I was warned by others sports journalists that baseball players were the most rude, primarily due to their lack of education. Conversely Nolan Ryan who pitched a never to be duplicated seven no-hitters during his career was the respectful and giving of his time. He was a one sport athlete but Bo Jackson will never be remembered as being as great as Ryan. The result is one was giving and played well into his 40's and the other had injuries that shorted a two sport athlete's though to be brilliant career. That's Karma for ya...

When I think of Sloan, the fact that he stands out as being one of the most memorable athletes that I have ever come in contact with embellishes his greatness. But... there was another side of Sloan I never saw. He coached as he did when he played... intensely. He had a temper and most notably let referees know when he disagreed with their decisions. He was suspended one game for pushing referee Bob Delaney in April 1993. A decade later, Sloan was served a seven-game suspension in 2003 for pushing referee Courtney Kirkland in Sacramento.

As I recall the incidents in Sloan's life that he had to deal with and overcome was the foundation that made him so outstanding. The dice didn't always roll his way during his life. He was fortunate to leave his first ever coaching job at Evansville University after only five days citing personal reasons. In December of that year 1977, the s' team plane crashed after takeoff, killing all on board.

He married his high school sweetheart Bobbye, who died after 41 years together. A bittersweet memory is one of his all-star players on the Jazz disrespected him and bad mouthed him. That player later was traded and Sloan resigned shortly after. The players production and health deteriorated and disappeared in to the sunset. This is another lost game of BAD KARMA.

Parkinson's, the same disease that has afflicted Muhammad Ali , is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects speech and movement and worsens over time. There is no known cure, but symptoms can be controlled by medication. Sloan had said that he was walking 4 miles per day when he announced his diagnosis.

I never attended a game to see Sloan play as a Bull but I was fortunate enough to meet him as a coach. Those encounters, though few, will always be remembered.


DID YOU KNOW?

The NBA players averages this season are:

Average Height: 6-6.54

Average Weight: 219.33

Average Age: 26.18

Average NBA Years: 4.59


 

NBA's 50 GREATEST PLAYERS of ALL TIME LIST

On October 29, 1996 In conjunction with the NBA’s 50th anniversary celebration, the list of The 50 Greatest Players in NBA History was announced. It included: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Nate Archibald, Paul Arizin, Charles Barkley, Rick Barry, Elgin Baylor, Dave Bing, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Bob Cousy, Dave Cowens, Billy Cunningham, Dave DeBusschere, Clyde Drexler, Julius Erving, Patrick Ewing, Walt Frazier, George Gervin, Hal Greer, John Havlicek, Elvin Hayes, Earvin Johnson, Sam Jones, Michael Jordan, Jerry Lucas, Karl Malone, Moses Malone, Pete Maravich, Kevin McHale, George Mikan, Earl Monroe, Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Robert Parish, Bob Pettit, Scottie Pippen, Willis Reed, Oscar Robertson, David Robinson, Bill Russell, Dolph Schayes, Bill Sharman, John Stockton, Isiah Thomas, Nate Thurmond, Wes Unseld, Bill Walton, Jerry West, Lenny Wilkens, and James Worthy

 

THE NBA's GREATEST of ALL TIME
1st Team
Position
2nd Team
Larry Bird
PF
Elgin Baylor
SF
Julius Erving
Bill Russell
C
Wilt Chamberlain
Michael Jordan
SG
LeBron James
Magic Johnson
PG
Oscar Robertson
11th & 12th MAN SUBSTITUTES & Coach
C/F
C
Coach

 

 


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