Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan coached 26 years in the NBA and is regarded as one of the legendary coaches in the league's history. On Friday, Sloan passed away at the age of 78. Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix's reflects on the legendary career of Sloan and his lasting impact on the NBA.
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Robin Lundberg: Legendary Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, the third-winningest in NBA history, has died at the age of 78. For more, I'm joined by NBA senior writer Chris Mannix. Now, Chris, obviously, you know, winning year after year after year with the jazz. He also played a little bit for the Chicago Bulls as a player himself. And it's probably why rings shouldn't define everything. What do you think is the lasting legacy of Jerry Sloan?
Chris Mannix: Jerry Sloan never won a championship and also never won an NBA coach of the year. But he will be remembered as one of the great coaches of all time. And what I think of Jerry Sloan, I think of consistency in the 15 years that he coached John Stockton and Karl Malone. They always had a winning season and they always went to the playoffs. I mean, even if it didn't end in championships and Jerry Sloan was one of those coaches that suffered because he coached during the era of Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls, that team was always in contention and they were always among the top teams in the Western Conference. So he was just a model of consistency with that team.
Robin Lundberg: Yeah, I mean, you generally don't see that level of stability. Right. And as you mentioned, that word consistency where you're competing on a year in and year out basis.
Chris Mannix: No, you don't. And one thing I give Jerry Sloan a lot of credit for was that he stuck around in the aftermath of Karl Malone and John Stockton leaving the jazz and helped to rebuild that team. Now, they never reached the heights that they reached with the Malone Stockton teams in the nineteen nineties, but they were still very good. They went over 50 games one of those years. They looked like they were on a path to success. The problem Jerry ran into towards the end is not every player likes that hard-nosed style that he coaches with John Stockton and Karl Malone. They adjusted well to it, even though they butted heads with Jerry. They always appreciated his bluntness and honesty. Towards the end, Jerry had guys like Deron Williams that didn't quite see eye to eye with him. I think that's part of the reason he ended his career when he did.
Robin Lundberg: Yeah. Deron Williams actually put out a statement saying, you know, it didn't end well, but he's glad he got a chance to sit down and, you know, make things right with Jerry Sloan.
Chris Mannix: And to Deron Williams' is credit, over the years, he has apologized for his role at the end of Jerry Sloan. Derron Williams did not want to be remembered as the guy that caused Jerry Sloan to walk out the door, but they just never saw eye to eye and I think that was kind of the straw that broke the camel's back for Jerry Sloan back in 2011.
Robin Lundberg: But nevertheless, a legendary figure in NBA history, R.I.P. Jerry Sloan.