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Utah Jazz: Former coach Jerry Sloan is in the spotlight (whether he likes it or not)

Always uneasy on the stage, former Jazz coach finally lets franchise honor him.



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Adelman was traded to Chicago during the 1973-74 season.

"I wasn’t much of a player or anything," he recalled. "… But Jerry [still] took me out to get furniture before my wife got there."

At a glance

Jerry Sloan timeline

March 28, 1942 » Born in McLeansboro, Ill.

May 6, 1965 » Taken with the sixth pick in the first round of the NBA Draft by Baltimore

May 1, 1966 » Selected by the Chicago Bulls in the NBA expansion draft

Nov. 25, 1967 » Records the first of two career triple-doubles with 22 points, 16 rebounds and 13 assists at Philadelphia

March 5, 1969 » Scores a career-high 43 points at Milwaukee

Nov. 30, 1969 » Grabs a career-high 21 rebounds vs. the L.A. Lakers

May, 1976 » After playing only 22 games during the season because of injuries, he retires

Feb. 17, 1977 » Bulls retire his jersey (No. 4)

March 1977 » Hired as coach at Evansville but resigns five days later for personal reasons

Dec. 13, 1977 » Plane carrying Evansville team crashes; there are no survivors

Nov. 16, 1984 » Named assistant coach of the Utah Jazz

Dec. 9, 1988 » Replaces Frank Layden as the Jazz’s head coach

Jan. 24, 1994 » Jazz beat Seattle to make him the winningest coach in franchise history (278 wins).

Dec. 6, 2006 » Becomes fifth NBA head coach to win 1,000 games after a 101-79 victory over Dallas

Nov. 7, 2008 » Becomes first NBA coach to win 1,000 games with the same franchise when the Jazz beat Oklahoma City

Sept. 11, 2009 » Enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

Feb. 7, 2011 » Gets regular-season win No. 1,127 as head coach of the Jazz (107-104 at Sacramento)

Feb. 9, 2011 » Jazz lose to Chicago, 91-86, at EnergySolutions Arena

Feb. 10, 2011 » Resigns as head coach of the Jazz

June 19, 2013 » Rejoins the Jazz as a senior basketball advisor

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Adelman’s favorite memory during his year in Chicago came during the ’74 playoffs. Sloan suffered a broken foot in the first quarter of Game 6 in a series against Detroit. But he kept playing.

"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.


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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."

Said Corbin: "Jerry and I talk often. I love hearing his input … about what’s going on. He’s an honest guy and I appreciate that. He won’t sugar-coat things when they shouldn’t be sugar-coated."

Sloan, in turn, "has a lot of respect" for Corbin.

"It’s a tough situation," Sloan said. "He’s got young players and he’s got players not under contract [next year]. But he has them playing hard. People think that’s easy and it’s not."

Sloan knows.

He coached the Jazz to 1,127 regular-season victories and guided Utah to the Western Conference finals or beyond five times in the seven-year stretch between 1992-98.

Sloan was never the NBA coach of the year — not that he’s bothered by the injustice.

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