Utah Jazz Legend Jerry Sloan Passed Away at the Age of 78

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 22: Former Utah Jazz, Jerry Sloan talks to the media during a press conference before the New York Knicks game against the Utah Jazz on March 22, 2017 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)
Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE

Former NBA player and head coach Jerry Sloan passed away this morning due to complications from Parkinson’s and dementia. Sloan was 78 years old and had been battling the conditions since 2015.

The Jazz released an official statement following Sloan’s passing:

“Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz. He will forever be a part of the Utah Jazz organization, and we join his family, friends and fans in mourning his loss. We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah, and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise.”

Utah Jazz

Sloan’s passing has taken a toll on much of the NBA community; it’s easy to see why his relationship with the NBA spanned over six decades. Sloan gained endless respect from his peers and opponents from each era in which he was involved.


Sloan started as a player. He played 11 years (1965-1976) for the Baltimore Bullets and the Chicago Bulls. A 6’5″ shooting guard who could play well on both ends of the floor, Sloan made two All-Star teams and had his #4 jersey retired by Chicago.

Two years after his retirement as a player, Sloan returned as an assistant for the Bulls in 1978. A year later, Sloan took over the head coaching position. He stayed in Chicago until the 1982 season and was hired again as an assistant in 1985 – this time by the Utah Jazz. Sloan was then named the Jazz’ head coach in 1988 and held the position until 2011.

Sloan’s coaching tenure in Utah was nothing short of impressive. The Jazz made the playoffs 19 times. Sloan led the Jazz to their first & second trips to the NBA Finals in 1997 & 1998. Even more impressively, he enjoyed success with teams that featured countless different players, from John Stockton & Karl Malone in the 90s to Deron Williams & Carlos Boozer in the 2000s. One thing was always the same through those years, though: Sloan being at the head coaching helm.

Sloan is gone, but his legacy and impact will be remembered forever. His career with the Bulls helped set the standard for the franchise’s future greats; and his years coaching the Jazz laid out a blueprint for sustained winning that’s likely implemented by today’s teams.

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