“Just kept getting shot up,” Adelman said. “He knew he wasn’t going to play in Game 7, but they said, ‘You can’t hurt it anymore.’ So he played that whole sixth game.”
According to Adelman, the crowd’s response to Sloan climbing the steps from locker room at old Chicago Stadium before Game 7 was critical to the Bulls’ series-clinching victory over the Pistons.
“The place went nuts and our whole team went to another level,” Adelman said. “I really believe it was all because of the reaction to him.”
Sloan came to Utah in 1984, when he became Frank Layden’s top assistant. He replaced Johnson, who had been hired by Kansas City. Sloan took over from Layden as head coach the Jazz on Dec. 9, 1988.
He ended up winning more games with one franchise than anyone in NBA history.
“When you think of the Jazz, you think of Jerry Sloan, John Stockton and Karl Malone,” says Utah coach Tyrone Corbin. “Even today, when you go around the country, the names you hear are Jerry Sloan, John Stockton and Karl Malone. That’s the impact they had on this franchise. They are still the identity of the franchise.”
Sloan resigned as the Jazz’s coach on Feb. 10, 2011.
In the wake of his abrupt departure, a handful of teams including Portland, Charlotte and Milwaukee talked to him about a return to the bench. But he wasn’t ready at that point, and now — two months before turning 72 — doesn’t expect to coach again.
“You never say never, but I’m not sure many teams out there will be looking for an older guy like me to coach them,” Sloan said. “… The lights are getting dimmer all the time.”
Last June, however, Sloan rejoined the Jazz as an advisor. He participated in the team’s predraft process. He continues to scout and evaluate players.
“The greatness of Jerry is he comes and sits in the gym and it raises our overall level,” said general manager Dennis Lindsey. “Our players know he’s there and, when they interact with him, it’s just a neat thing to see.”
In addition, Sloan has become what Lindsey describes as “a senior consultant to Ty and all our [assistant] coaches.”« Previous Page Next Page »