Heat team president Pat Riley reacts passing of former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan

Shandel Richardson

Miami Heat team president Pat Riley and former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan are among the most respected in the coaching profession.

After Sloan passed away at the age of 78 Friday, Riley paid his respects.

“It was a privilege to play against a Jerry Sloan coached team, I always knew that we would be severely tested," Riley said in a statement released by the Heat. "His overall philosophy on both sides of the ball was fundamentally solid and always one step ahead of the game."

Sloan coached the Jazz for 23 seasons and is No. 4 on the list for wins with 1,221. He finished his career with a .603 winning percentage. Sloan had battled Parkinson's disease and dementia since 2016. Before retiring, he led the Jazz to consecutive NBA Finals appearances against the Chicago Bulls in 1997 and 1998.

“Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz," the Jazz released in a statement. "He will forever be a part of the Utah Jazz organization and we join his family, friends and fans in mourning his loss. We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise."

Sloan is the latest NBA legend to pass away. In January, the league lost former commissioner David Stern. A month later, Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash. 

"Loyalty was his badge of honor and his no nonsense approach to competition was perfect for the game," Riley said. "Jerry will go down in history as one of the most admired great winners and respected teachers of basketball ever. I am humbled and saddened by his passing.”

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