Jerry Sloan, the Hall of Fame coach and former Chicago Bulls player, passed away on Friday from complications from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia. Sloan was 78 years old.
When basketball fans think of who the greatest coaches in NBA history are, two names that always come to mind are Gregg Popovich and Phil Jackson. Some forget to mention Jerry Sloan, who is arguably the greatest basketball coach in history.
Sloan was the first of only two coaches in NBA history to win 1,000 games with the same franchise. He is one of only three coaches in history with at least 50 games in 10 or more seasons. Sloan also led the Jazz to 15 straight playoff appearances from 1988 to 2003. As a coach, Sloan made 20 NBA playoff appearances and made two trips to the NBA Finals. He finished his coaching career #4 all-time in wins.
As spectacular as a coach Sloan was, he was also a great basketball player. His playing career lasted 10 seasons, retiring with career averages of 14 points and over seven rebounds a game. His best season came in 1970-71, when he averaged over 18 points and nearly nine rebounds a game. Sloan became the first player in Chicago Bulls’ history to have his jersey retired.
Jerry Sloan was a pioneer of the game. He started as a rookie in 1965 and coached his last game in 2011. He left a significant impact on the game of basketball, not only as a coach but a player as well. His winning mentality and longevity in the sport will be remembered. Sloan is a figure that all NBA coaches should look to model after. They’d be lucky to be nearly as successful as Sloan was.
Rest in Peace to one of the greats, Jerry Sloan.
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