Come on in to Dr. Feelgood's office, Mr. Sloan. Take a load off, get comfortable, punch up a pillow, and the good doctor will be right with you. â¦
Thanks, Nurse Ratched.
Jerry? How you been, you old coot?
Hey, Doc. I'm OK, in a limited sort of way.
We haven't seen you in here in a while. Not since â¦ since â¦ D-Will made your life miserable and then ran you off. Those were strange times, weren't they? Back when he was telling you to do anatomically impossible things to yourself in the middle of practice, when he was busting plays right in your face during games, and you felt hurt and angry and disrespected and alone and somewhat paranoid that nobody was listening to you and everybody was out to get you, so much so that you did what you never do you up and quit on your team in the middle of the season â¦
Yeah, Doc, thanks for freshening all of that up for me.
So, what's banging around inside your head today?
I wanna coach again, Doc.
Hmmmmm â¦ I see.
I'm bored, Doc. But how bored am I? I dunno. Somebody once told me never to retire from something, but instead retire to something. I retired to nothing. I can only piddle around back on the farm for so long, you know?
I can only take so many trips over to Don's Liquor Hut and eat peanuts and chug a brew or two with the fellas. There's only so much wood to chop and land to clear. It was all a lot more fun when it was all just for fun as a diversion.
You miss the game?
I miss the game. I love the game. I miss the fight. I love the fight. It's just â¦ well, some of these punk-ass kids playing the game that drive me a little batty. Do I want to deal with that, again? I need respect from them and from whoever's calling the shots over my head. When the players stop listening to you, Doc, you're a dead man.
I read in the papers that you threw your name in for the Charlotte Bobcats job. The Bobcats? What'd they win last year â¦ eight games? Doesn't that make you look a little desperate? It made me wonder if you were â¦ you know, one fry short of a Happy Meal, two cans short of a six-pack, a little mad whack, bro.
Are those clinical terms?
Come on, Jerry, Phil Jackson never would have considered that job.
Doc, you're killing me with that. I've always had great admiration for MJ. I'll admit, working with him intrigued me.
Why didn't you make it happen, then?
They low-balled me. They offered me pennies. For as competitive as Jordan was as a player, he sure doesn't seem to take winning too seriously as an owner. You saw the guy they ended up hiring, right?
Mike â¦ ?
Dunlap. What's he ever done? I'm glad I got out of that one. I need commitment from ownership and a few tools with which to work.
What about Portland? I saw yesterday that their general manager said they really wanted you and they offered you a job and that you walked away from it. They have a ridiculously wealthy owner who wants to win now, they have a nice city, and they have some nice players in the fold. What happened?
Doc, I met with them. Apparently, they originally wanted â¦ You-Know-Who.
â¦ Phil Jackson. They went after him hard, over a two-month period. Gave him everything short of a tongue bath to get him, but he eventually turned them down. When they came after me, I was open to the thing. We had early talks, and then GM Neil Olshey asked to meet with me this week here in Salt Lake. I agreed. When he offered me the job, I told him I'd sleep on it.
Yeah, but, Doc, I didn't sleep well. At the end, I just couldn't do it. I told them it wasn't the right place and time.
Jerry, you're 70 years old. When is the right time?
I think I shocked them a little bit by turning them down. Maybe I shocked myself, too. Maybe now nobody will want to hire me. And maybe I don't want to be hired. I'm just sitting here, watching the tractor wheels go round and round.
It's understandable, J-Slo. You're kind of in a lonely place, riding your International-Harvester solo somewhere out on the north 40. But you're not there completely alone. A few others have tilled the same ground. When you're in the Hall of Fame, when you've won more games than all but two other coaches, when you're a living legend, finding a second act can be a tough, tough mother.
I'm in no-man's-land, Doc. I want to work. I don't want to work. I've got the head for it, but I'm not sure I have the stomach. I've gotten in line for jobs, interviewing between Brian Shaw and Quin Snyder. I'm Jerry Frickin' Sloan. At least I was. I'd like to be him, once more. What do I do?
Coach again, Jerry, coach. Call the Blazers back and tell them you're done piddling around. Tell them you slept on it and you changed your mind. Tell them you have more to offer. Tell them the time is right. Tell them you're Jerry Frickin' Sloan.
GORDON MONSON hosts "The Big Show" weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 1280 and 960 AM The Zone. Twitter: @GordonMonson.