Utah Loses a Legend
Yesterday morning, I received a text from my friend Hector alerting me of the breaking news that Jerry Sloan had just resigned as head coach of the Utah Jazz. I quickly checked a few popular sports websites and did not see any confirmation of the story. Then, he told me the story had been reported on NBA.com and quickly word started to spread that Sloan had, in fact stepped down as Jazz head coach.
Why would one of the game's greatest all-time coaches suddenly decide to quit in the middle of his 23rd NBA season in Utah? Apparently, the 68-year old finally reached his breaking point. On Wednesday night, Utah star point guard Deron Williams and Sloan got into an argument that continuedinto the locker room at halftime. Apparently, Williams called a different play then what Sloan had requested on the bench. After the game, the Utah Jazz head coach decided he had finally had enough. As a player with the Chicago Bulls, Sloan was known as a tough, hard-nosed banger that gave you everything he had. That style made him an instant fan favorite in the Windy City. The same could be said for him in Salt Lake City. Sloan played a style of basketball that produced many wins and NBA playoff appearances. Just ask Karl Malone and John Stockton. If someone did not want to play his style of basketball, that individual would not last in Utah. The Hall of Fame head coach also had a reputation for getting in his players faces and was not afraid of physical confrontations.
It is too bad a coach with his credentials did not get support and backing from the team's ownership and management. That is another sad reality of professional sports: players have more power than coaches or managers. The Jazz could have sided with Sloan and allowed him to discipline Williams. Instead, they sided with their star player and Sloan had enough. It's too bad because Sloan was such a throwback; the NBA just lost one of the great ones.