When the Utah Jazz announced plans to honor former coach Jerry Sloan by hanging a banner from the rafters of EnergySolutions Arena, there was some question about the number that would be on it.
On Monday, the Jazz announced it would be the only one that mattered: 1,223.
That’s the number of wins (1,127 in the regular season and 96 in the playoffs) the Hall of Fame coach accrued during 23 seasons as the Jazz’s leader.
“You think of 82 games a year, to get 1,223 is a lot of work,” said Jazz coach Ty Corbin, who just recently eclipsed the 100-win mark.
Sloan will be honored at halftime of Friday’s game against the Golden State Warriors. The 71-year-old Sloan, who still works as a senior basketball adviser for the Jazz, will be the 11th individual to have a banner raised at EnergySolutions in his honor.
Sloan started with the Jazz in 1983 as a scout before becoming an assistant coach under Frank Layden and then moving on to a Hall of Fame career as the team’s head coach.
“It’s a great accomplishment for him,” Corbin said. “You know, Coach is a tremendous guy to watch and understand and learn from. I’ve respected his work as a player. I’ve respected his work as someone on his staff.”
The only concern Corbin had was a stylistic one.
“I don’t know how the number will be looking on the jersey with that many numbers on it,” he said. “Maybe it will start a new trend.”
Malcolm Thomas went through his first practice with the Jazz on Sunday after being claimed off waivers, and the 25-year-old power forward says he has a long way to go in understanding his new team’s offense.
“I’m not familiar at all,” he said Monday. “I just went through a couple plays yesterday and that was it. It’s going to take time for me to get used to it.”
His new teammates like what they’ve seen so far.
“In practice he looks really good,” Marvin Williams said. “He can really shoot the ball and it looks like he can guard … multiple positions.”