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Jerry Sloan and his NBA Legacy with the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz

Jerry Sloan, most famously known as the head coach of the Utah Jazz, sadly died today at age 78. He was a former NBA player for the Chicago Bulls and the Baltimore Bullets (now the Washington Wizards), and an NBA coach for the Utah Jazz and the Chicago Bulls. He was an NBA All-Star and an NBA Hall of Famer head coach.

The NBA Legacy of Jerry Sloan

Jerry Sloan, former NBA player and head coach sadly died today because of complications with Parkinson’s Disease and Lewy body dementia.

Sloan started off his basketball career with the Baltimore Bullets from 1965-66. However, he would make his mark with the Chicago Bulls. Sloan was the first player to be retired by the Chicago Bulls. He played for them from 1966-76, making the NBA All-Star Game in 1967 and 1969. Jerry Sloan also won the NBA All-Defensive First Team four times and the NBA All-Defensive Second Team two times.

He would then coach the Chicago Bulls as an assistant from 1978-79. Jerry Sloan then got promoted as head coach from 1979-82. However, after three less than three years and one playoff appearance he was fired by the Chicago Bulls. He would then become an assistant coach for the Utah Jazz from 1985-88. Sloan would again get promoted as head coach of the Utah Jazz. He was with the Jazz from 1988-2011.

Legacy with the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz

Chicago Bulls

Jerry Sloan was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in the 1966 NBA Expansion draft by the Chicago Bulls according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

“Jerry Sloan was ‘The Original Bull’ whose tenacious defense and nightly hustle on the court represented the franchise and epitomized the city of Chicago,” Chicago Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said

Chicago Bulls teammate with the Chicago Bulls Bob Love also said good things about Jerry Sloan.

“He would make the All-Star team today just on his defense,” longtime Bulls teammate Bob Love said in 2017. “These guys now running down the floor? Nobody would’ve wanted to mess with Jerry. He was tough as nails.”

Utah Jazz

Sloan was one of the most successful head coaches in NBA history. According to ESPN, there were 245 coaching changes around the league. Furthermore, five current NBA teams, which were the Toronto Raptors, Charlotte Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies, Orlando Magic, and the Minnesota Timberwolves did not exist in 1988.

Former Utah Jazz player Mark Eaton said this about their former coach according to ESPN’s Eric Woodyard:

“I think the Utah Jazz are Jerry Sloan,” Eaton said. “The whole franchise is steeped in the things that he taught and put together in the ’90s, and I think that everything is measured against that. You look at the team today, and I notice that when players make great plays of effort where they’re getting after a loose ball on the floor or blocking out or getting a steal or making something happen, the crowd reacts.”

In Jerry Sloan’s coaching career, he was fourth in regular-season games and wins, and playoff games. He also ranks sixth all-time in playoff wins, which is the most by any coach without an NBA title. Lastly, Utah Jazz gave a statement of what he meant for the organization:

“Like Stockton and Malone as players, Jerry Sloan epitomized the organization.”

As head coach, Sloan made 20 trips to the NBA playoffs with 16 consecutive winning seasons. He also ranks second on the NBA all-time list for consecutive games and wins with one franchise.

Overview of Jerry Sloan’s Legacy

Jerry Sloan is a Hall of Famer head coach and an NBA All-Star as a player. In his career, he was able to make a mark on two franchises, the Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz.

The first player retired by the Chicago Bulls and the most successful head coach for the Utah Jazz. Jerry Sloan was one of the greatest figures in the NBA.

Condolences must be sent to Jerry Sloan’s family and friends at this difficult time.

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