clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

At least Sloan resigned.

That shows he has more sense than Egypt's dictator.  So he's got that going for him.

What else does Jerry Sloan have going for him, now that he's stepped down as Utah's President for Life coach?  Well, while the rest of the country is getting all misty-eyed about Jerry Sloan and the freaking Jazz, let me take you down my own memory lane.

Now, normally it is a good rule to say nothing when one has nothing nice to say.  But this is sports blogging, and really, I can only find one nice thing to say about Jerry Sloan. 

This is it - the nice thing - Sloan handled his semi-forced retirement quite gracefully.  The fact that he's been forced out, reputedly due to Deron Williams throwing a fit, is disgraceful.  While I don't think he deserves much from the rest of the league, he certainly deserved better from Utah.  He faithfully ran the same three plays for 23 years.  He should get a nice watch, at least.

Now, here's my opinion.  While everyone else is thinking about the good times - you know, never winning a title despite having two (of my two least-favorite) Hall of Famers for their entire careers, I think about some of the not so good things.  I mean, that's a great regular season record, no doubt.  And they almost won a title under Sloan.  Almost.  But you know, the dark side of decades of failure.

 Some may say "Hey, that's not classy."  My answer to that is, "Hey, this isn't a eulogy - the man isn't dead.  He's just lost his job.  It happens.  A lot.  Particularly in professional sports.  He's of retirement age, anyway.  The links beckon."

Sure he had his job for a long time and now its gone. In a league where most coaches would be grateful for 10 years, he got 23 and will retire a wealthy man. (If there is a god of Hoops he WILL retire.)  What the hell does he have to complain about?  That he didn't get a fair chance to win a title in Utah?  That he never had the talent?  That the fans weren't with him?  What?  Ultimately, given the players he had, given his support, given his tenure, Utah's failures rest on him.

Now, let's talk about the team that, more than any other in the NBA, bears the imprint of its coach.  The Jazz are known in The Media for "being tough".  But we all know what that really means.  That means that Jazz will foul more than almost any other team, with the assumption that the refs may call a lot of fouls, but they won't call them all.  The "tough" Jazz, reflecting their coach, no doubt, are also well-known for their cheap shots - "fouls to injure".  What, no one remembers Karl Malone deliberately elbowing one of the game's great gentlemen, David Robinson, and knocking him unconcious?  Well, he did. ( When David Robinson suspects foul play, it's probably there.  I'd trust him over Karl Malone on any matter whatsoever.)  

And of course, Utah is known for their flops, too.  How this equals tough eludes me, but this policy is clearly Jerry Sloan's.  Why?  Because, aside from the Euros, none of his players played that way in college.  

Sloan's players came to Utah and gradually learned "The Jazz Way".  This means pick-and-roll, excessive fouling, cheap shots, and flops.  (And Utah's fan base appears to loves this.  It's "tough basketball".)  

I'm not saying no one else flops, and certainly I would never claim that no Rocket does it, but ask anyone (but a Utah fan). Utah is the team with the biggest historical claim to the flop title, and the team that flops most consistently throughout its lineup and bench. It is clearly a team policy, rather than an individual decision or cultural imperative (for, say, Argentines).  This is Jerry Sloan's Utah - there is no other coach to blame.

And let's not forget his rich history of nasty verbal abuse and homophobia.  It's well-documented.  Read the words of John Amaechi " without a doubt, he's the worst the person I've ever met in my entire life".  That's the sort of quote you read from pro athletes talking about their coaches all the time, isn't it?  No, it really isn't.  It's special.  Like Jerry Sloan.

Anyway, Sloan coached for a long time, he was undoubtedly talented from the Xs and Os standpoint.  Not quite talented enough, though.  

So ride off into the sunset Jerry.  You will not be missed.



A note for the easily offended (from my comment on another thread):  I think most Jazz fans are probably pretty nice people, who feel mystified and put-upon by this dislike.  I'd say, God bless 'em, they can't see the forest for the trees.

I’ve been to Utah several times, the people are in general friendly, helpful and accommodating. The state possesses two of the most beautiful places on the entire earth. But I hate the Jazz. Who can I tell this to who might listen? Rocket fans and Jazz fans.  And here we are. Maybe with Sloan gone they’ll be better.