Legendary Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, a basketball titan on and off the court, died on Friday, the team announced. He was 78.
The Jazz announced that Sloan died of complications from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia.
“Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz. He will forever be a part of the Utah Jazz organization,” the team said in a statement.
“We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty, and tenacity he brought to our franchise. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Tammy, the entire Sloan family, and all who knew and loved him.”
Sloan amassed one of the greatest careers in NBA history. Before leading the Jazz as a stalwart for 23 seasons on the sideline, Sloan was a player, known as one of the toughest defenders in the game as a member of the Chicago Bulls from 1966 to 1976. He was named four times to the first team NBA All-Defensive squad. He also averaged 14 points a game, seven rebounds, and two steals over his career, and was an All-Star in both 1967 and 1969. Sloan was the first Bulls player to have his jersey retired by the franchise, in 1978, when they hoisted his No. 4 jersey to the rafters.
As a coach, Sloan finished his career with the third-most wins in NBA history. He had the sixth-highest winning percentage among anyone with at least 500 wins. And he helped engineer two NBA Finals appearances for the Jazz, with the help of Hall of Fame players John Stockton and Karl Malone. The Jazz lost to Michael Jordan’s Bulls in the Finals in 1997 and 1998.
Sloan is one of only seven coaches in NBA history to win at least 50 games in 10 different seasons. His 1,127 wins with the Jazz is the second-most wins ever with one team.
Sloan was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.
“It was an honor and a privilege to have one of the greatest and most respected coaches in NBA history coaching our team,” said Utah Jazz owner Gail Miller and her family in a statement. “He has left an enduring legacy with this franchise and our family. The far-reaching impact of his life has touched our city, state, and the world as well as countless players, staff, and fans.”