Kings: Jerry Sloan, Legendary Jazz Coach, Passes Away

Jerry Sloan (Photo by JOHN G. MABANGLO/AFP via Getty Images)
Jerry Sloan (Photo by JOHN G. MABANGLO/AFP via Getty Images) /

NBA coaching legend Jerry Sloan has passed away. We remember him and his team’s battles with our Sacramento Kings.

NBA coaching legend Jerry Sloan passed away on Friday morning after a battle with Parkinson’s and dementia. Sloan coached the Utah Jazz through their glory years, sending multiple players to the Hall of Fame and making two NBA Finals appearances. His teams had plenty of epic battles with the Sacramento Kings, and both fan bases are in mourning today.

Sloan played professionally for 11 seasons in the 1960s and 1970s for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Bullets before become a scout in 1978. He was promoted to head coach of the Bulls two years later, and became the coach of the Jazz in 1988.

Sloan’s teams had 1,221 wins and 803 losses during his career, good enough for 4th on the all-time wins list and a 60+ percent success rate. He led the Jazz to the NBA Finals in both 1997 and 1998, when they infamously fell to Michael Jordan and the Bulls.

The Jazz qualified for the playoffs in 19 of Sloan’s 22 full seasons with the team, making it out of the first round on 11 different occasions.

The games between the Kings and Jazz in the late 90s and early 2000s were full of tension. Utah was something of a rival for Sacramento, and the teams had some classic battles and series. At one point during his tenure, Sloan led the Jazz to 14 straight victories over the Kings. He was once suspended eight games for shoving a referee during a game against the Kings.

Sloan’s final victory as an NBA head coach took place in ARCO Arena in Sacramento as the Jazz defeated the Kings by 3.

Jerry Sloan was 78 years old. He is survived by his three children.

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