He started the interview with an insult, a laugh, and he ended it with a tribute to Sloan that backed up the plumbing in his own eyes and made everyone else's eyes feel dusty, too.
"Hey, Gordon," he said. "I'm out here with cows, chickens and donkeys, and I named one of the donkeys after you."
"It's the smartest one, right?" I said back.
"No, it's the dumb one that always runs into the fence," he said.
Ostertag is a cruel, cruel man now.
No, no, he is not.
He is a man with perspective, taught through and by the years between then and now that his time with the Jazz was pretty darn good, the winning was good, the opportunities on the floor were good, the mentorship was good.
"It was so much fun," Ostertag said. "The only thing we didn't do right was win [the championship]. I'm honored because I got to play with two of the best ever. They should be honored because they got to play with me."
He laughed when he said that, too.
One other thing that wasn't right: Ostertag's approach to the game.
"The thing I've learned now that I'm older and wiser is that all those times Jerry was yelling at me, it wasn't his fault, it was my fault. [John Stockton and Karl Malone] were two guys who came to work every day. They worked hard at practice, on their own, in the summertime, you're never going to find anyone who worked as hard as Karl did. … If any young player wanted to follow any players, it would be those two. Great work ethic."
He wasn't one of them.
"I was young and dumb," Ostertag said. "I thought I knew everything."
He added: "I've got a lot of regret in my life. One of them is not being the player for those guys that I could have been and should have been, taking for granted that I was 7 foot, and only being as good as I was, not being better. Bobbye Sloan and John and Karl used to tell me, 'If Jerry wasn't yelling at you, he didn't care about you.' At times, I thought he cared a little too much.
"Looking back, I blew that. … I know Jerry only wanted the best for me."