Jerry Sloan is underappreciated. Unless you are in Utah, where he has juice like the Osmond’s, Sloan is absolutely taken for granted. After 21 years of roaming the sidelines for the Jazz, Jerry not only has the longest head coaching tenure in the NBA, but in all of professional sports. Eighteen of those 21 seasons have been playoff appearances, highlighted with two straight Finals appearances in ’97 and ’98, where they lost to MJ’s Bulls – arguable the greatest team in NBA history. Yeah Sloan doesn’t have a chip, but there is no doubt he is one of the top 10 coaches in the history of the League.
I lived in Utah for 17 years and even wrote for the Jazz for a season, so obviously my judgment is a little skewed. Like Charles Barkley, John Stockton and Karl Malone, Sloan will never get the recognition he deserves because he never he has never won an NBA Championship (although technically he still could, but Kobe is awfully good). On the flip side, he has gotten the most out of his players. He made mediocre guys like Howard Eisley, Shandon Anderson and John Crotty aka “The Crotty Kid” look like legit NBA players.
The year after Stockton retired and Malone went Hollywood, the Jazz were supposed to be contenders for the worst record in NBA history. But Sloan guided a young and inexperienced team that featured Mo Williams, Raja Bell and a guy named Ben Handlogten to 42 wins the ’03-’04 season. Sloan always gets his teams to play hard, play ‘D and play the right way. His 1,136 career victories makes him the fourth winningest NBA coach of all time. If he wasn’t the coach for the Jazz, there would be no longer a team in Salt Lake.
Even though he is a lock for the Hall of Fame, the 67-year-old coach has surprisingly never won the Coach of The Year award. And to be honest, I don’t think he could care less. He is as old school as it gets and doesn’t like attention. He doesn’t appear in commercials, he likes to ride John Deere Tractors and he doesn’t even own a cell phone. So, accolades and fame mean nothing to him, he just wants to coach. But for the rest of us that are Jerry advocates, we wish he’d get a little more love.
What do you guys think? Is Jerry Sloan one of the top 10 NBA coaches of all time? Jazz fans please have my back on this!