by Daniel Olsen
Once a week, we will be highlighting an inductee of the Utah Sports Hall of Fame. This week’s inductee is Jerry Sloan.
Heroes get remembered but legends never die. Although Jerry Sloan passed away last year, he will forever remain a legend with the Utah Jazz. Because of his 1223 wins and so much more, he is nominated as the Utah Sports Hall of Fame Inductee of the Week.
The Best To Never do it
Although Sloan was one of the best coaches of his era, he never won the NBA Coach of the Year Award. Even in 1997 and 1998 when the Jazz were the best in the west, other coaches won. Pat Riley of the Miami Heat won it in 1997 and Larry Bird of the Indiana Pacers won it in 1998. Despite never winning the award, there are plenty other accomplishments that Sloan achieved throughout his career.
Just Win Jerry
Few won at the clip that Sloan won at. He won the fourth most games in NBA History. Don Nelson, Greg Popovich and Wilkins won more games in their history. His teams made it to the playoffs in all but three full seasons in which he coached. He had six Western Conference Finals appearances in addition to the two NBA Finals appearances. He also won seven division titles throughout his career.
Make sure to listen to this week’s #TakeNote Thursday episode of The Hive Sports podcast wherever you listen to your favorite shows.
When Push Comes to Shove
This might not be one memory Sloan wants to be shared. Perhaps he does though. Yes it’s true that he once got ejected for shoving a referee when going against the same Sacramento Kings who the Jazz just scored a franchise high point total against. Sloan was probably smiling from above at that result last night. The point of sharing this is that Sloan was as tough as they come. He wasn’t afraid to back down from anyone. Even his players who were much younger and stronger would not dare fight him.
When mentioning Stockton and Malone, it’s important to mention Sloan in the same breath. He was also one of the best coaches to never win a championship, a winner in more basketball games than not, and tough as nails. Sloan still lives in all Jazz fans.
Featured image courtesy Fred Hayes/AP