Legendary Hall of Fame head coach Jerry Sloan died on Friday morning after a long struggle against Parkinson's disease and Lewy dementia at the age of 78.
Known for his 23-year tenure at the helm of Utah Jazz, Sloan is one of the greatest NBA head coaches of all time. He leaves an outstanding legacy of excellence that continues more than nine years after he retired from his position as head coach of jazz in February 2011, marking the end of his NBA coaching career.
Here's a look back at Sloan's life behind the bank in numbers.
Amazingly, despite being widely praised by his colleagues, Sloan never won the coach of the year award in all his seasons when he oversaw NBA teams.
If a single number could indicate how little he was valued when patrolling the sidelines, it would be the right one. Sloan's brilliance could only really be appreciated if you took a few steps back.
Although he could never win anything, Sloan reached the NBA final twice in 1997 and 1998. Without a guy named Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, Sloan would probably have had one or two shiny rings that match the rest of his outstanding resume.
Unfortunately, it shouldn't be. However, this means nothing for reaching the final, which in itself is very difficult – let alone twice in a row.
One of the most astonishing facts about Sloan's coaching career is that in the 26 seasons he was the NBA head coach, he only had three seasons with records under 0.500, two of which were at the top of the Bulls during his three-year tenure – even when he was fired from Chicago in the mid-season in 1981-82.
Sloan missed the last point – and didn't count when he was fired or when he resigned – and only missed the playoffs four times throughout his run as the NBA head coach.
Only once with Chicago and three times with jazz, two of them with a record of over 500 in so-called "Down Years" for Sloan's jazz program in the mid-2000s.
Sloan won eight championship titles in his 23 seasons as a jazz coach. Five of these came in what was then the Midwest Division and three more in the newly aligned Northwest Division.
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During his NBA coaching career, Sloan had the privilege of training nine different All-Stars.
They were: Artis Gilmore, Reggie Theus, Mark Eaton, John Stockton, Karl Malone, Andrei Kirilenko, Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur and Deron Williams.
Gilmore, Stockton and Malone all went to the Hall of Fame.
Between the 1988/89 season and the 2002/03 season, Sloans Jazz played the playoffs in 15 consecutive seasons.
An amazing feat, especially given the Western Conference's competitiveness in the 1990s – with powerhouses like the Portland Trail Blazers, the Houston Rockets, the Phoenix Suns, the Seattle SuperSonics and the San Antonio Spurs.
Sloan finished fourth in the list of regular season NBA head coaches of all time with 1,221 career wins – only Gregg Popovich (1,222 wins), Lenny Wilkins (1,332 wins) and Don Nelson (1,335 wins).
On the playoff winning list, Sloan ranks sixth at 98 with all time.
In the rafters of the Vivint Smart Home Arena, you can see a jersey number 1223 for the combined regular season and playoff wins of 1,223 that Sloan collected during his 23 seasons with Utah – a very cool gesture of jazz who withdrew the number 2014.
Sloan retired from the game in 1976 after a successful 11-season NBA career, 10 of which were at Chicago.
After retiring, he assumed a coaching position at his old college alma mater, the University of Evansville, but withdrew almost immediately after accepting the offer. Tragically, the basketball team and Evansville coaching team died in a plane crash that same season.
Sloan's withdrawal from the coaching appearance scaredly and accidentally saved his own life.
In 1978 Sloan was hired by the bulls as a scout. Just a year later, he was appointed head coach of the then low Bulls – his very first NBA head coach gig.
Unfortunately for Sloan, his term as Bulls was rather shortened when he was released in the middle of the 1981/82 season after a terrible start between 19 and 31.
A great sport-what-if-what would be if the cops had just decided to stay with Sloan in these really lean times and had waited long enough for Jordan to arrive in 1984 and turn everything around ? How much would that have affected Sloan and Jordan legacies?
Though he accepted an offer to train the Continental Basketball Association's Evansville Thunder in 1984, Sloan never coached a game for her and instead took an assistant coaching position under Frank Layden and began his coaching journey with jazz.
On December 9, 1988, after Layden's retirement, Sloan was named the sixth head coach in the history of the jazz franchise and started a legendary 23-season run with almost unprecedented success.
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Sloan was part of a legendary 2009 Hall of Fame class in which his great jazz point guard John Stockton, Spurs Center David Robinson and Jordan were inducted into the sacred halls of Springfield.
One of the few black spots on Sloan's record as head coach of jazz was the end.
In the middle of the season for a strong playoff spot, Sloan and his assistant Phil Johnson, who had been with him since 1988, stepped down on February 10, 2011.
At the time, there were rumors of friction between the Sloan's old-school coaching style and Star Point Guard Williams, with some reports that Williams actually drove Sloan.
In their honor, Sloan and Williams denied any bad blood between the two, but the way it all ended so abruptly was and is very strange to think about.
Fortunately, a certain normalcy was brought back to jazz on June 19, 2013, when it became known that Sloan would return to the organization, albeit as a consultant and scouting consultant.
By this time, Williams had already been sold to the Brooklyn Nets, and jazz wanted to revolve around the young, up-and-coming star Gordon Hayward.
Unfortunately, on April 6, 2016, Sloan revealed in a piece of the Salt Lake Tribune that he had Parkinson's and Lewy body dementia.
As lovable and prickly as ever, Sloan did not want pity, but made the announcement to make people aware of it.
"I don't want to complain. You do what you can do. People have to live their own lives without worrying about someone like me." He told The Tribune at the time.
After a long battle against Parkinson and Lewy, it was announced on Friday, May 22, 2020, that Sloan had died tragically at the age of 78.
"Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with Utah Jazz," said a team statement on Sloan's death. “He will be part of the Utah Jazz organization forever and we mourn his loss with his family, friends and fans. We are so grateful for what he has achieved here in Utah and for the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity that he has brought to our franchise. "