NBA Hall of Famer Dies at 78

Wikimedia Commons, By Chicago Bulls

Former Hall of Fame basketball coach Jerry Sloan died on Friday at the age of 78.

Sloan resigned as head coach of the Utah Jazz in 2012  after spending 23 years at the helm which included two NBA finals appearances and multiple trips to the playoffs.

In 2016, Sloan was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

When he announced his diagnosis, he told The Salt Lake Tribune “I don’t want people feeling sorry for me.”

He also served as head coach of the Chicago Bulls from 1979 to 1982 and has an illustrious career as a player prior to that.

As a player, Sloan made the All-Star team twice and All-Defensive team six times.

The Chicago Bulls retired the #4 Jersey in his honor and the Jazz retired the #1223 in honor of how many wins he amassed for the organization.

In 2002, Sloan admitted in a Sports Illustrated interview he had a drinking problem, but said that it never affected his coaching performance.

Jack McCallum reflected on Sloan’s man of the people mentality:

The last time I was around Jerry Sloan for any length of time was back in September, at the Hall of Fame ceremonies in Springfield, Mass., where some NBA types were sharing a few tables at the Marriott Hotel bar. Jerry likes bars, which is something he has in common, of course, with a hundred million other males and females. He liked bars even better years ago when he spent far too many hours in them, drinking away the losses — and the wins, too — a man addicted to late nights, beer and cigarettes.

Sloan was predeceased by his wife Bobbye, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2004. They were married for 41 years and had three children.

He remarried Tammy Jessop in 2006 and gained a stepson.

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