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Jerry Sloan once scolded his players for mocking Chris Andersen’s tattoos

Jun 6, 2013, 9:15 AM EDT

Chris Andersen

One fun part of the NBA Finals is how the beat writers of teams that are finished with their seasons handle it, especially if their team isn’t in a coaching search and doesn’t have a high draft pick. Left to fill space in their newspapers other ways, they often tell some interesting stories. Like this one about Jerry Sloan and Chris Andersen. Brad Rock of the Deseret News:

The Nuggets beat the Jazz by 14 that night. Andersen went 5-for-7 shooting, snagging seven rebounds and blocking three shots.

Sometime during the game, Jazz players had begun mocking Andersen’s body art, which didn’t yet include his famous “Freebird” collar. Upset with his team’s intensity, Jerry Sloan raged along the bench, where he overheard his players’ wisecracks.

“I wish ONE of you guys played as hard as him!” Sloan shouted.

If Sloan ever wants to return to the NBA, he will certainly face questions about where he falls on the thin line between old school and out-of-touch. He should answer with this anecdote. Not caring about someone else’s tattoos would diminish concerns about him being out of touch, and wanting his team to play hard is pure old school.

  1. JMClarkent - Jun 6, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    Coach Sloan may be one of the most underrated coaches of all time. I would love to see him back on the bench in SLC!

    • fanofevilempire - Jun 6, 2013 at 11:19 AM

      He is a winner, played hard too- before my time but I heard.
      I like his John Deer cap.
      I think the only question is can he handle the grind, he is 70.
      I hope he gets a shot.

    • daddyghi - Jun 6, 2013 at 12:12 PM

      jazz could have made the playoffs this year if Sloan was there..

      • don444 - Jun 8, 2013 at 2:37 AM

        Wow, pretty shallow thinking here. Given that the Jazz missed the playoffs by all of two games and also assuming that’s largely Corbin’s fault, a premise I don’t subscribe to in any real way, then it can be safely theorized that many other coaches could have made up that difference had they been on the Jazz bench and that there’s nothing special about Sloan in that scenario. Utah has a very average nine-man rotation all things considered and, to be frank, as a Jazz fan you should probably be satisfied with the fact they collected as many as 43 wins in 2013. I’ll spare you the public embarrassment of asking you whether or not you actually believe they would have advanced past either OKC or San Antonio in the first round if they HAD in fact qualified for the post-season.

    • don444 - Jun 8, 2013 at 1:35 AM

      Who says Sloan isn’t widely respected and generally revered as opposed to hugely underrated? Fair or not, never winning the championship does drag his legacy down a slight bit. With that said he’s already been enshrined in the Hall of Fame as a coach and I’d venture to say that he’d likely place in the lower half of the top ten of the vast majority of basketball historian’s lists of the greatest coaches in NBA history. Pretty damn good, can’t do much better. He may not have garnered every last accolade or piece of recognition you felt he deserved, but to say he’s one of the most underrated coaches of all time is at best an exaggeration.

  2. azarkhan - Jun 6, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    I recall many years ago reading a story about the Utah Jazz who were to play the Washington Wizards that night. The Jazz had HOF’s Sloan, Stockton and Malone and, as usual, the Wizards sucked. The reporter noted how that morning all of the Jazz were out early on the court practicing hard, while only 2-3 Wizards showed up to work on their game. That’s the commitment and work ethic that Coach Sloan was trying to get across to his players. Letting him go because of Deron Williams pouting was the biggest mistake the Jazz ever made.

    • abasketballthing - Jun 6, 2013 at 2:20 PM

      He quit

      • azarkhan - Jun 6, 2013 at 2:32 PM

        “After repeated clashes with star point guard Deron Williams and a belief he had become undermined with ownership, Jerry Sloan resigned as the Utah Jazz coach after 23 seasons, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

        The increasingly contentious relationship between Sloan and Williams boiled over when they clashed at halftime of a loss to the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night. The showdown between Sloan and Williams became so heated on Wednesday, at least two Jazz players feared that the coach and star could come to blows – even though the confrontation ended before reaching that point.”

    • abasketballthing - Jun 7, 2013 at 10:13 AM


      Your quote says he resigned. I’m not saying anything against Sloan, I think he’s a great coach, one of the best ever. But the Jazz didn’t let him go. He decided to go. He had a legitimate reason for that. but it was his decision. Jazz management begged him to stay, and he refused. So don’t say it was a mistake the Jazz made, because it wasn’t. As far as I know, resigning is quitting. I don’t mean to say he’s a quitter or anything like that. I’m pointing out that he decided to resign, and that you’re mistaken in saying that the Jazz let him go because of Deron Williams.

      • don444 - Jun 8, 2013 at 2:20 AM

        You’re correct, no doubt about it. While not condoning much about the often difficult Williams and his behavior while playing for Sloan, the simple fact of the matter is that Sloan approached the front office concerning issues he had with Williams, they basically refused to do anything about it and he then proceeded to give them a middle finger and exit stage left. Not necessarily criticizing the decision, but he indeed resigned, i.e. QUIT. I’ve always been both amused and bemused by the fact that so many of these people who love Sloan so much doggedly cling to the erroneous belief that Williams simply must have went to the front office and demanded Sloan out largely because that just fits their narrative of who Sloan is much neater. Give it up, folks, it simply never happened. These Sloan/Williams conspiracy theorists remind one of the father who, with clenched fists, snorting nose and watery eyes, just absolutely insists that his son passed away from cancer when everyone and their mother knows and has always known that it was actually HIV. What can you say, that people tend to see and hear what they want to see and hear is anything but a new phenomenon and some will always prefer their own version of reality regardless of any facts that are presented to them.

  3. 2bemoore43 - Jun 6, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    hey Mitch….. Please give Jerry Sloan a call. sincerely, LakersNation

    • money2long - Jun 6, 2013 at 11:22 AM


  4. willcoop62 - Jun 6, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    I got to watch him play……and let me tell you something right now. He was as tough as advertised and he took no plays off. If I was starting a defensive back court right now, I’d take Sloan and The late Stormin Norman Van Lier to run the show. Just ask Dave Bing about the beatings he took from those two whenever they played against each other. Sloan was and is one of the toughest SOBs that ever played or coached.

    • don444 - Jun 8, 2013 at 3:29 AM

      A real Sloan zealot here. Just out of curiosity, why, exactly, would you be “starting a defensive back court” and who hired you for such a thing? lol My apologies, but I just had to take a second and take the wood to you over that bit of relative nonsense. Oh well, outside of badly dating yourself I’m not sure you told anyone anything they didn’t already know or managed to add much to the message board, but that’s my view.

      P.S. His apparently endless string of beatings aside, just for the record, Dave Bing was a better basketball player than both Jerry Sloan and Norm Van Lier.

  5. cariboolean - Jun 6, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    The problem with that is it’s not the ’60’s or ’70’s any more. The rules have changed and how the games are officiated has changed. The game was more physical then; now, players can’t get by on just being tough without much other talent.

  6. northstarnic - Jun 6, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Sweet tats, bro.

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