FILE PHOTO: Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (R) shakes hands with Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan after sweeping the Jazz following Game 4 of their NBA Western Conference semi-final playoff series in Salt Lake City, Utah, May 10, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Longtime Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan died at age 78 on Friday.
The Jazz announced Sloan’s passing on Twitter with a photo captioned “Rest easy, coach.”
“Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz. He will forever be a part of the Utah Jazz organization and we join his family, friends and fans in mourning his loss,” the team said in a statement. “We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise. … Like (John) Stockton and (Karl) Malone as players, Jerry Sloan epitomized the organization. He will be greatly missed. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Tammy, the entire Sloan family and all who knew and loved him.”
A stoic Sloan revealed in 2016 he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
“I’m not scared,” Sloan said at the time.
Sloan was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009. He spent 23 years as head coach of the Jazz and 26 as a coach in the NBA. The Jazz went to the playoffs 20 times in his 23 seasons, including back-to-back trips to the NBA Finals in 1996-97 and 1997-98.
An original member of the expansion Chicago Bulls in 1966-67, Sloan jumped to coaching after an 11-year playing career. He was known for his hard-nosed defense as a player but also averaged 18.3 points per game in 1970-71.
Sloan was a two-time All-Star and four-time All-Defensive First Team selection.
—Field Level Media