Storyline: Jerry Sloan Death

49 rumors in this storyline

The Chicago Bulls legend with the steely defense and the hard-nosed reputation walked into Frank Layden’s office, hoping the Utah Jazz head coach would hire him for a scouting job. Layden didn’t know it at the time, but the two would become attached at the hip and lifelong friends and lead a team together that would become one of the standards of small-market NBA franchises. Layden, already legendary in Salt Lake City for the work he had done with the Jazz to that point, could feel Jerry Sloan’s presence. It didn’t take more than a few minutes for Layden to know exactly what he was dealing with. He liked him immediately.

More Rumors in this Storyline

Sloan told Layden that day that he was coming to the Utah Jazz to learn from him. Layden told Sloan: “I know. That’s why I’m hiring you.” A few years later, Sloan informed Layden that he would never look for another job, that he would be fine being Layden’s assistant for the bulk of his career. Layden responded by resigning as head coach, taking the job as team president and offering to make Sloan his first hire. Sloan told Layden to slow down, take some time. “Is hiring me what you really want to do?” Sloan asked him. “He actually tried to talk himself out of the job,” Layden said with a laugh. “He was so humble and so appreciative. It was wonderful.”

Forty-six of his 78 years were in the NBA, where he was a player, a gangly man with dark hair and elbows that busted open noses and a piss-and-vinegar grit that allowed him to climb comfortably under the skin of some of the legends in the game. Legends Sloan, himself, would say he had no business being in the same sentence with, but unfortunately for him, that’s not true. He was “The Original Bull,” selected by the expansion Chicago Bulls way back when, a man whose No. 4 jersey is now retired in the rafters. He was an All-Star, a man who felt like his job was always on the line every night.

And, of course, there was (and forever will be) the aura of Sloan. The man who so many felt connected to, despite never having shaken his massive right hand. To countless folks, he was a father or grandfather or uncle or family friend who knew basketball, who led their favorite team for 82 games a year for 23 straight seasons. He was the man who called for the “High C” over and over. The Jazz had a stunning 20 straight playoff appearances from 1984 to 2003 and made back-to-back NBA Finals in the late 1990s. Out front of what is now Vivint Smart Home Arena, the men who Sloan helped mold are melded in bronze and frozen in time: Karl Malone is about to drop a nifty hook shot. John Stockton is dishing out what seems to be a patented no-look pass that only his teammates would grab hold of.

Even though Sloan never won a championship — and, incredibly, was never named NBA Coach of the Year — George Karl said he was one of the most gifted coaches he has ever seen. “I’d put Jerry as one of the top three or four all time I’ve ever faced,” said Karl, who sits two spots behind Sloan at No. 6 on the all-time coaching wins list. “His teams were really difficult to play against. They were very tough-minded, very team-oriented. “Jerry would not tolerate a lot of the NBA bulls— that goes on. He was demanding, but respectful. Every Utah Jazz player I ever spoke to had nothing but great things to say about him.”

Former NBA official Joey Crawford said he warned younger refs that if they decided to slap Sloan with a technical, they should immediately turn and walk away to defuse the situation. “But here’s the wonderful thing about Jerry,” Crawford said. “He’d get mad, but you could go back at him and say a lot of stuff to him, and he would never ever rat you out. You could even curse him out, but he was never going to call the league office the next morning to complain, like some other coaches would. “I had a helluva lot of respect for the man. We all did.”

In some ways he never fully left that life. Despite fame and million-dollar salaries, he often drove to the arena in an old van, parking it alongside the luxury cars his players drove. Pretentious, he was not. In the offseason he returned to his Illinois farm, rising at dawn each morning to work in the fields in bib overalls or an old Jazz polo shirt. “Nobody does this unless they have to,” Bobbye would tell him. His reply: “It’s cheaper than a psychiatrist.” His old friends said he never changed despite his worldly success.

During his playing career, Sloan collected numerous broken bones, pulled muscles, floor burns and bruises. His nose was broken so many times that he stopped getting it fixed. His elbow required surgery after years of slamming it into the court. He once popped a pelvic tendon, and the noise was so loud that Bobbye ran out of the stands onto the court. “He was in the hospital so many times,” Bobbye said. His knees were drained more than 20 times. He tried to come back from knee surgery for a 12th season, but the damage was too extensive. As Bobbye recounted, “The team physician used to tell him, ‘You know you’re going to pay for this.’”

“Coach Sloan was honest to a fault,” said ESPN’s Marc Spears, who has covered the NBA for two decades. “Once he was comfortable with you, he would allow you inside his amazing basketball brain. I loved his humility. He was a very simple man who didn’t take life too seriously. I really enjoyed looking at my schedule and seeing a game that had the Jazz on it. He was the only head coach that would eat in the media room. “The last time I saw him, I told him how much he meant to me. I relished every moment I was able to spend with him.”

Alex English: I had an opportunity to play for the Utah Jazz under Jerry Sloan my last NBA season. I opted to go play with the Dallas Mavericks. That was one of the biggest mistakes of my NBA career. I admired Sloan as a player and Coach. He was tough as both, but like Doug Moe he was a Player’s Coach. The Mavericks were going through a tumultuous time in its history, and was not the place for an aging player near the end of his career. I feel with Jerry Sloan at the helm I could possibly have played 2 to 3 more years because he had been a player and knew how to handle the situation. Rest in peace Coach Sloan. The NBA has lost another Legend.


WHe was a huge authority, similar to European coaches but with serious respect for each player and their personalities. You may have found out [that Sloan was so highly-paid] on the internet or in the newspapers because that information is public in the United States,” Pavlovic added on Sloan. “However, Sloan never showed any arrogance, nor did he show that anything is measured by money. I always remember the pictures of him coming to training in a truck, like the rest of the world.”



Ira Winderman: Pat Riley statement on the passing of former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, “It was a privilege to play against a Jerry Sloan coached team, I always knew that we would be severely tested. His overall philosophy on both sides of the ball was fundamentally solid and always one step ahead of the game. Loyalty was his badge of honor and his no nonsense approach to competition was perfect for the game. 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.”

“Our Hall of Fame coach for 23 years, Jerry had a tremendous impact on the Jazz franchise as expressed by his banner hanging in the arena rafters. His 1,223 Jazz coaching wins, 20 trips to the NBA Playoffs and two NBA Finals appearances are remarkable achievements. His hard-nosed approach only made him more beloved. Even after his retirement, his presence at Jazz games always brought a roaring response from the crowd.v Like Stockton and Malone as players, Jerry Sloan epitomized the organization. He will be greatly missed. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Tammy, the entire Sloan family and all who knew and loved him.”

From the Miller Family: “It was an honor and a privilege to have one of the greatest and most respected coaches in NBA history coaching our team. We have appreciated our relationship with Jerry and acknowledge his dedication to and passion for the Utah Jazz. He has left an enduring legacy with this franchise and our family. The far-reaching impact of his life has touched our city, state and the world as well as countless players, staff and fans. We pray his family will find solace and comfort in Jerry’s life. The Miller family and Jazz organization will be proud to honor him with a permanent tribute.”
More HoopsHype Rumors
May 25, 2020 | 9:30 pm EDT Update
Teammates with the Lakers for two seasons from 2014-16, Tarik Black had a front-row seat for some of the most memorable moments of the final days of Bryant’s Hall of Fame career. But none of them can top April 13, 2016. That was the date of Bryant’s last NBA game. And the former Jayhawk said he remembers every detail of that night at Staples Center. “Allen Fieldhouse was one of the most electrifying places I’ve ever played been in my life,” Black told the Journal-World during a recent phone interview from Los Angeles. “But everything else pales in comparison to that night of Kobe’s last game. I’ve never experienced a feeling or been a part of a sports moment like that in my life.”
Black remembers being with Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson the afternoon of that game when he first saw Bryant arrive at Staples Center. Together, they approached the man they affectionately called “O.G.” and gave him a simple message. “We walked up to him and said, ‘You’re going to take every shot tonight,’” Black recalled. “And he was like, ‘No I’m not. Just play basketball.’ And we were like, ‘No, O.G. You’re going to take every shot. If we get an offensive rebound, it’s coming to you.’”
During his two seasons as Bryant’s teammate, Black and Bryant became close. As luck would have it, an injury during his 2019-20 season in Israel sent him back to Los Angeles earlier than normal and he was able to see Bryant one final time just a week before the helicopter accident. It was the first time the two had seen each other since their days as teammates. And Black, unaware of what fate lied ahead, made sure to make the encounter count. “I actually got a chance to thank him for what he meant for my life,” Black said. “And he just kept saying, ‘I’m proud of you.’ So it rocked me to my core when I heard about his passing.”
Storyline: Kobe Bryant Death
May 25, 2020 | 5:30 pm EDT Update
Roc Nation Sports has signed a large class of highly regarded NBA draft prospects, including point guard LaMelo Ball, a projected top-five pick. The agency recently signed Ball’s brother, New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball, away from CAA Sports. Roc Nation NBA agent Raymond Brothers is representing both of the Ball brothers. LaMelo Ball, who played last season in Australia on the Illawarra Hawks of the National Basketball League, is ranked No. 3 overall by website nbadraft.net. Brothers is also representing No. 12-ranked Memphis forward Precious Achiuwa.
Roc Nation signed Texas Tech guard Jahmi’us Ramsey, who is ranked No. 24: Washington power forward/center Isaiah Stewart, who is ranked No. 26; and Kentucky guard Immanuel Quickley, who is ranked No. 35 by nbadraft.net. Additionally, Roc Nation signed Temple forward Quinton Rose, American University guard Sa’eed Nelson and Indiana guard Devonte Green, brother of Los Angeles Lakers guard/forward Danny Green. Agents Brothers, Drew Gross and Sam Permut are representing the players.
Tandem Sports + Entertainment has signed Northwestern guard Pat Spencer for representation in the NBA draft. Matt Laczkowski, Tandem director of athlete and talent representation, is representing Spencer, who transferred to Northwestern after playing lacrosse for four seasons at Loyola-Maryland. Spencer was drafted No. 1 in the 2019 Premier Lacrosse League draft, but chose to spend the next year pursuing basketball as a graduate transfer at Northwestern.
Storyline: Draft Agents
Ty Lawson posted a cryptic message on his Instagram story Monday in which he seemed to call out UNC head coach Roy Williams. “Who talks s— about someone who won them a championship …” Lawson wrote in his Instagram story. “(You’re) weird… I got messages from 10 NBA GMs that said it came out your mouth … That’s why I don’t f— with Carolina or support anything y’all do.”
May 25, 2020 | 4:32 pm EDT Update
Turner Sports analyst and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley didn’t feel the need to hedge in a Monday appearance on the Paul Finebaum Show. “We’re gonna make a decision in the next week,” Barkley said. “I’m 100% sure we’re going to play. I know my friends in Major League Baseball are going to play. I know that the (NHL) is going to play. … I do know this, talking to my bosses at Turner: We’re going to play basketball. It is gonna be in Florida and Vegas, or just Florida.”
Storyline: Season Resuming?
“The key is gonna be the players,” Barkley said. “I mean, listen — big basketball players pushing on each other in the lane, fighting for rebounds and post position, there’s no way they can social distance. You got to worry — they say they’re gonna put them in a hotel for two or three months, I’m like, ‘Well are the maids gonna be in the hotel for two or three months?’ The maids are gonna go home every day. What about the people in room service? They’re gonna go home every day. So it’s just a lot of unanswered questions.”
The Department will work with the professional sporting groups to identify the specific athletes, essential staff, team and league leadership, spouses, and dependents covered by this exemption, including Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, the Professional Golfers’ Association Tour, the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour, the National Hockey League, the Association of Tennis Professionals, and the Women’s Tennis Association.
Storyline: Season Resuming?
Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says the swift development of vaccines and effective treatments for COVID-19 are priorities towards achieving the Tokyo Olympics next year. Abe says recovery from the coronavirus pandemic only in Japan would not be enough to hold the Games because it involves spectators and athletes from around the world. He reiterates that the government hopes to hold the Tokyo Games “in a complete form” with spectators as a proof of human victory against the coronavirus.
Part of VICE TV’s VICE VERSA series of documentary specials, One Man and His Shoes essentially serves as an expanded version of what Episode 5 (and to some extent, Episode 1) of The Last Dance touched on: The cultural phenomenon of Nike’s Air Jordan shoe line. Director Yemi Bamiro doesn’t have to tell a larger narrative (though his film eventually goes there), so he can zoom in on this aspect of Jordan’s story.
May 25, 2020 | 4:26 pm EDT Update
How optimistic are you that the NBA will resume play at some point? Carlisle: “I am optimistic. It feels like things are moving in what I would characterize as a generally good direction, in terms of our ability to test and control an environment. I have no absolute knowledge of anything, but I do know there’s a great desire of the players to return to playing games and get into a playoff format of some sort.”
Storyline: Season Resuming?
Rick Carlisle: “I think if you look at the big picture, it probably sets up even better for the start, if the new season’s going to start in December, which a lot of people are speculating. It’s kind of like the elongated All-Star break. And some of the good things that’s brought for the remaining part of the regular season you’re coming off of an eight or nine-day break instead of a three or four-day break, as in the old days.”
Isiah Thomas: “I think in Ja we are watching the next generation of the great point guards that have been coming through our league. You have that group of Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, John Wall and so forth, but for the younger generation of point guards, I think Ja – who is projected to win the 2019-20 Rookie of the Year award – is going to be leading that evolution of great point guard play.”
In leading the ‘Bad Boy’ Pistons to back-to-back NBA titles (1988-89 as well as 1989-90), Thomas consistently compromised his private numbers to guarantee group success. It is a high quality he likewise sees in Morant. “That is a unique gift,” Thomas claimed. “Team- friends will certainly like you for it yet analytics will certainly despise you for it. Sharing the basketball as well as obtaining everybody entailed, being prepared to make the ‘hockey’ aid instead of keeping the round to obtain the aid on your own … you see Ja doing all of those points in the program of a basketball video game.
Mike Bibby sat down with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith and talked about his run with Sacramento — a fit that was comfortable for Bibby right away. Even though trading for him meant bidding farewell to Jason Williams, a guy Kings fans were in love with. “The guys treated me like I was there for five, six, seven years,” Bibby said. “I got there and Jason Williams was a prized possession in Sacramento and when I got traded for him, I just wanted to fit in, I didn’t know if the fans would like me or if the team would like me. In my first year we had the best record in the West. I had the best time of my life and my career playing in Sacramento with those guys. I think Sacramento is the best team I played on.”
May 25, 2020 | 4:09 pm EDT Update
Tobias Harris hasn’t shot a basketball since the 2019-20 season was halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. But he has been working out every day in his garage gym at his Philadelphia home to stay ready should play resume. He’s also been talking to his teammates on Zoom. “Everybody wants to be safe, so that’s the key thing,” Harris replied when asked if he has any concerns about a return. “If we can find a venue and it’s safe and we have the proper protocols in place for guys to feel comfortable, then I’m fine with it.” Harris described the idea of playing actual games in an empty gym as, “Kind of like a practice setting. But guys are competitive, so we’re always gonna go as hard as we can.”
Storyline: Season Resuming?
Hearing Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan in “The Last Dance”, crying on the locker room floor following his Father’s Day championship in 1996 — MJ’s first title since his dad, James, was murdered — caused Harris himself to become emotional. “I ain’t going to lie, I was shedding a tear when I saw Jordan crying,” Harris told Yahoo Sports in a recent telephone interview. “I thought they should’ve just stopped the episode right then and there. It was touching. I’d seen the photo a whole lot, but I was probably too young to understand. And now you can really see all the emotion that’s in it. I did some research after the show ended. You hear about his father passing away, but then you dive in and it’s a pretty crazy story.”
Harris, a Long Island native, was fortunate enough to see Jordan play at Madison Square Garden when he was a kid alongside his father, longtime NBA agent Torrel Harris — founder and CEO of Unique Sports Management — and his older brother, Tyler Harris. It proved to be a memorable evening. “We kept asking my dad if we could meet him after the game and he was just telling us maybe,” Tobias recalled. “But it ended up happening and it was unbelievable. As we were walking away I realized I didn’t get him to sign my card. So my dad had to pull him back and get him to sign our cards. Tyler and I were so excited on the train ride back. I kept thinking my dad was so cool because he knows Michael Jordan. I ended up losing the card on the way back, but it didn’t matter because I had gotten to meet him. It was an unforgettable experience.”
“When I was given the checkbook, I went to put in the tip & information to close the table and I couldn’t believe it,” the message read. “From a $160 check, the tip read $1,000.” The restaurant noted that the waitress was “shaking and had tears of happiness” while saying many employees had been suffering due to closures amid the coronavirus pandemic.

May 25, 2020 | 1:18 pm EDT Update
The Sun-Times has reported that Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley have already had detailed discussions with players and retained personnel, and were getting enough mixed feedback of what’s gone on the last year that they were leaning toward starting with a new coach of their choosing. Ownership and former VP of basketball operations John Paxson have given support for Boylen, but a source reiterated that COO Michael Reinsdorf was by no means influencing the front office’s decision on the coach and would allow Boylen’s dismissal if Karnisovas wants to go that way. No questions asked.
Storyline: Bulls Front Office
Doc Rivers may have the largest All-Time starting five squad ever. Austin Rivers joined his father on the GO OFF podcast, where the two talked about All-Time starting fives, Kobe stories, and their player/coach dynamic. When it comes to an All-Time starting five, Doc Rivers is in favor of size. “I’m going Kareem at the center,” Rivers said. “I’m going Tim Duncan at the four, because those both are two-way players. I’m going Michael, and Magic at the one and two. This may be the biggest team ever. And then LeBron at the three.”
Coach Rivers had a top-five shooting squad as well. “Dirk at the five,” Rivers said. “I would put Durant at the three. Steph at the point, because that’s what you’d need. I would put Kobe in there because of his ability to drive. Now the whole team changes. At the four I couldn’t even come up with one.” Austin contested that Ray Allen should be on his father’s top-five shooting squad, but Doc believed Kobe’s ability to drive superseded the argument. In addition to Kobe’s driving ability, the elder Rivers believed Kobe’s shooting would improve significantly on a squad of good shooters.
May 25, 2020 | 10:34 am EDT Update
“Everything is pointing toward a return of the NBA this season at a single site in Orlando at Disney World,” Wojnarowski said on ESPN’s Get Up. “Teams expect the league to tell them to start recalling their players as soon as next week. There will be a two-week quarantine back in markets. Some teams might go directly to Disney to start training or somewhere in-between. But the league has started to not only put the plans in place for return in terms of testing and safety, health-wise. But really digging this week into what that format is going to look like.”
Storyline: Season Resuming?
They were close to hiring Steve Kerr before he decided to take a job with Golden State. The Knicks also reached an advanced state of negotiations with Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer before hiring David Fizdale. Discussions between the Knicks and Budenholzer in the 2018 offseason advanced to a point where some people who would have come with Budenholzer to New York were talking about places to live in the city because they felt Budenholzer was close to taking the job, per SNY sources. Prior to Budenholzer’s interview with the Knicks, the New York Post reported that New York was Budenholzer’s top choice entering the offseason.
He proposed a photo that would have her looking like a pin-up in the style of a mermaid, and Buss was on board. “It was kind of like I was like a mermaid underwater with a blue backdrop,” Buss said. “They used to show mermaids holding pearls … and so instead of the pearls I got basketballs. And I’m not naked but I might look like I’m naked. I get people [who say], ‘How dare you put a naked picture of you on Twitter. It was in Playboy.’ And it’s not. It was from Sports Illustrated! “Yes, do I have to talk about the Playboy and the decision [to pose]. Yes, I’m still explaining it 20 years later. They want to judge and put me in a category.”
Then she told a personal story about another star. When her dad, Jerry Buss, bought the Lakers in 1979, they drafted Magic Johnson and became the NBA’s premiere franchise. It ended suddenly when Johnson had to retire in 1991 because of an HIV diagnosis. “I prayed to the skies above and I said if we ever get a player on our team like Magic Johnson again, I will never ever, ever take that player for granted,” Buss said, her voice catching. “And then we got Kobe. As heartbroken as I am, one comfort that I have is that Kobe knew how much we loved him and we told him and we retired his numbers. He never doubted that we were behind him 100%. That gives me some comfort. We never held back the celebrating the greatness that was Kobe.”
May 25, 2020 | 6:47 am EDT Update

James Wiseman the frontrunner for the No. 1 pick

In an anonymous poll of 35 NBA executives conducted by Stadium, James Wiseman has emerged as the frontrunner for the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. The 7-foot-1 center, who played just three games at Memphis this past season prior to withdrawing from school amidst an NCAA suspension, received 20 of the 35 votes (57 percent). “I wouldn’t even want the No. 1 pick,” one NBA general manager told me. “If I have it, I’m trying like hell to trade it.”
This rumor is part of a storyline: 403 more rumors