Marc Stein: As for Jeff Hornacek: Phil Jackson is said to be a longtime admirer of Jerry Sloan’s ways and so a fan of Hornacek, who thrived under Sloan.
Jerry Sloan Rumors
Former NBA All-Star Kermit Washington joined the Bald Faced Truth radios show (12-3p on 750-AM and 102.9-FM) to talk about his career, Damian Lillard, and why he thinks Jerry Sloan was a better coach than Phil Jackson. “I think Jerry Sloan is a lot better coach than Phil Jackson,” Washington said. “…if Phil Jackson was a jockey, he had Secretariat to ride. You could have put 50 jockeys on Secretariat and won the Kentucky Derby. He was lucky and Pat Riley was very lucky. Red Auerbach would tell you the same thing… whoever was coaching Bill Russell would have won 10 championships.”
But something so simple isn’t so simple anymore for the 74-year-old Hall of Fame coach. “I was told I have Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia,” Sloan said, recounting his diagnosis from his home. Sloan takes medication every day, hoping to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease, a disorder that affects the central nervous system and causes all sorts of movement problems like tremors.
The battle isn’t only affecting Sloan, either. His wife, Tammy, and the rest of his family have had to watch, trying to help in Sloan’s fight as best they can. “I haven’t heard anyone say it’s going to be easy,” Sloan said, “so just take your lumps and go on.”
The most difficult part is what comes next — or more specifically, not knowing what comes next. “I’m not scared,” Sloan said, wiping away tears. “I’m just scared of shaking for days on days. If I could get that stopped, I’d be in pretty good shape. “You’ve got to take advantage of every day you can, because there might be a rough road ahead of you.”
One of the things I am most proud about from the years as president of the PBWA is that the executive and I helped institute the Rudy Tomjanovich Award to the coach who best combines excellence in his craft with co-operation with the media, the award Dwane’s up for this year. Well, to right what we all felt was a terrible wrong – that Sloan had never been the coach of the year – we made a decision that that he would be the first winner and that it would be an unanimous decision. It was my pleasure to call Sloan and tell him; I got him, I think, at his farm in Illinois that summer and it was an honour to give him the news. He says, and I think this is verbatim: “I don’t know why the hell you’re doing this but thank you, I’m honoured.”