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Jerry Sloan shoves official, may face suspension

Mar 20, 2010, 11:00 AM EST

Ah, late March. When winter gives its last gasp, the flowers begin to bloom, baseball season starts to ramp up, and the Jazz start coming apart at the seams.

The Jazz, after going on an absurd run throughout the first two months of the year, have returned to their home planet. After a thrilling, come-from-behind win against Phoenix on March 4th, the Jazz were riding high, nigh unstoppable. Now they’ve lost three of their last five, road losses to playoff teams. Understandable losses, but still games they need to be winning as April approaches. And what’s more, they’re coming unhinged a bit.

I submit for evidence exhibit A: Jerry Sloan shoving an official with his forearm with .02 seconds left and the Jazz down three possessions.

With .02 seconds left in the Jazz loss to the Suns last night, Ronnie Price went for a garbage time breakaway dunk (“The Shannon Brown Special”). Grant Hill fouled Price hard, and the Jazz took exception. Because, you know, Grant Hill has a reputation for being that kind of player.

The Salt Lake City Tribune’s Ross Siler has the details of what happened next. After the officials failed to call a flagrant foul on Price, they went to the replay to see how much time was left. Sloan, outraged, backed down a security guard… yes, the 67 year old coach backed down a security guard trying to talk at the officials. Then after the officials came out of the replay session, Sloan got into it with official Michael Smith. The result was Sloan shoving Smith his forearm, and, as you’d expect, getting sent to the showers.

Siler points out this is the third time since 93 the Jazz legendary coach has made physical contact with an official. I’m pretty sure you can expect Sloan to miss a few games for his impulse reaction.

Tough old bastard, that Sloan.

UPDATE: A commenter points out that the reason for Sloan’s outburst was Amar’e Stoudemire walking from the bench across court towards the Jazz bench after the play. Stoudemire said later he thought the game was over, according to Siler. Of course, Stoudemire does kind of have a history of walking on the floor off the bench at bad times. 

  1. Big Richard - Mar 20, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    Interesting reporting. No mention of Amare thinking the game was over and walking towards the Jazz bench? Every article I’ve read has stated that Sloan was concerned with Amare’s proximity to his bench, NOT with the hard foul. His altercation with security and the ref were that they allowed Amare to get so close to his players during the game. A HUGE violation.

  2. devhen - Mar 20, 2010 at 3:04 PM

    If that was a “shove” then… well… it wasn’t. Watch the replay my friend. Referee Michael Smith makes an obvious and concerted move to “get up in his face” as if this is baseball and Sloan is the umpire. Refs are told to remain at least a step away in situations like this and yet Smith takes the initiative to move right into Jerry’s personal space, close enough for a kiss, and with nothing to say. Just a bone-headed school yard move intended to, uh, intimidate? Sloan moves his forearm up to stop Smith from getting any closer and says, obviously, “get outta my face.” If Sloan gets a fine or worse yet a suspension it will only be because of the league’s tendency to back up its officials regardless if they are in the wrong or not. What could have been a run of the mill argument between a coach and a referee (happens every day in the NBA) turned into a confrontation because of Michael Smith’s idiotic reaction and bad attitude. I recommend both you and Ross Siler take a look at the replay and not just from the moment Sloan starts to raise his forearm but from the beginning of the conversation and you’ll see a childish act from an undiscerning referee that was obviously going to draw a reaction from Jerry Sloan which may possibly have been Smith’s intent. That guy is an idiot. Now, back to your Jazz bashing. Carry on silly man. :P

  3. Chris - Mar 21, 2010 at 3:09 AM

    Seems like the author of this opinion piece neither saw that game nor really had any intention of reporting the facts. Looks like NBC is just as bad at hiring writers as they are at settling disputes among their Late Night hosts.

  4. Mike - Mar 21, 2010 at 9:33 PM

    Seriously? Have you even watched the replay of this? Sloan put his arm up to keep contact away from the idiotic ref that was trying to get into his face. No wonder there isn’t the “NBA on NBC” anymore considering their journalists have no idea how to report the facts to the public. Stick with the Olympics because thank God its only 2 weeks of horrid coverage.

  5. Memphis - Mar 22, 2010 at 1:22 PM

    For all you retards calling the ref idiotic, you don’t know the story! The ref, who I KNOW personally, was trying to see why Sloan was upset, and acting idiotic! He was trying to get information from him, you know refs do talk to the coaches, when the coaches have issues with calls and what not! But Jerry being Jerry, acted like a lil ^*()(.

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