Deron Williams, Former Jazz Players React To Passing Of Jerry Sloan
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Longtime Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan passed away Friday morning. The Hall of Fame head coach was 78 years old. News spread quickly throughout the NBA world, drawing reaction from many of Sloan’s former players. Deron Williams who had a well-documented spat with Sloan which led to the coach’s retirement remembered his first NBA coach on Instagram.
Deron Williams On Sloan
“Very sad to hear about the passing of Coach Sloan this AM,” Williams wrote. “I’m praying for Tammy and their family during this time. I know things didn’t end well between us in Utah, however I’m glad that i got the chance to sit down with him before it was too late. Definitely something that would have haunted me for the rest of my life. Blessed that i got to play for him and learn so much from him during my 5 1/2 years in Utah. You knew he always had your back when you stepped out on that court.”
Sloan retired in 2011 after a lockerroom disagreement with Williams. The Jazz would trade the All-Star guard to the New Jersey Nets a week later.
Williams teammate Mehmet Okur was the first player to react to Sloan’s passing. The All-Star center played from Sloan from 2004-2011.
“RIP coach Jerry Sloan,” Okur wrote. “You taught me so much on and off the floor. I’m gonna miss you.”
Long time veteran Earl Watson played for Sloan in 2011.
The 13-year veteran sent a tweet remembering the former coach’s toughness.
“Payers to Coach’s family,” Watson said. “Jazz Nation & everyone coach made feel like family! Not only did coach teach us accountability of being a good teammate but he taught us life through consistent effort! We love you & miss you! In your words before every game “hit first”! ”
Former power forward Paul Millsap encapsulated Sloan’s attitude during his Jazz tenure.
The bruising power forward had an underdog story that turned into several All-Star appearances.
“Thank you for the opportunities, thank you for the lessons, thank you for help mold me into a great basketball player and man,” Millsap tweeted. “I will always bring my “lunch pail” to work! RIP Coach Sloan.”
ESPN analyst and former Jazz player Tim Legler extended his condolences.
“So sorry to hear of the passing of Jerry Sloan,” Legler wrote. “I was fortunate to spend a short time playing for him with the Utah Jazz early in my career. He made a lasting impression on me as a great basketball mind and a family man of integrity. Praying for comfort for his family.
Former Jazz guard CJ Miles remembered Sloan as a warrior on the court.
“This is the way I will always see you Coach.. ready and willing for war,” Miles wrote. “A competitor and Leader .. Anything to win..I wish I knew how to articulate how much your presence meant as a youngin .. I wish I’d had the chance as an adult to really sit wit you .. we spoke but never enough after I REALLY found out how much you shaped me as a professional as a man even”
Former big man Donyell Marshall, now the coach of the Central Connecticut State Blue Devils remembered his coach online.
“R I P. To one of the greatest coaches I have ever played for,” Marshall tweeted “This man brought the best out of me in my 2 years in Utah. He taught me how to be a professional. I’m glad I had a chance to talk to him and let him know how much he meant to me as a player and person.”
Sloan was remembered by former center and current Golden State Warriors assistant coach Jarron Collins.
“My deepest condolences to the Sloan family and all of JazzNation,” Collins tweeted. “A great Coach and even better man. Rest In Peace Coach.”
One time All-Star and former Jazz second-round pick Mo Williams extended his condolences on twitter.
“You will be deeply missed,” Williams tweeted.
Gordon Hayward spent his rookie season under Sloan.
“I didn’t get to spend a lot of time playing for Coach Sloan, but coming in as a rookie he had a major impact on my transition to the NBA,” Hayward said. “I’m grateful for that. Prayers to his family, friends and loved ones. May he Rest In Peace.”
Stockton and Malone
Kay Malone, wife of Hall of Famer Karl Malone posted a tribute to Sloan on her Instagram page.
“RIP COACH SLOAN,” The caption read. “A legend and one of the greatest guys that we will miss.”
David Stockton, son of Hall of Fame guard John Stockton remembered Sloan on twitter. Though David never played for the legendary coach, he grew up around the organization. The younger Stockton would suit up for the Jazz in 2018.
Stockton’s tweet featured a video of Sloan high giving a child sitting on the lap of his former point guard.
Current Jazz Players
Current Jazz players also extended their best wishes to the Sloan family.
Guard Donovan Mitchell issued a simple statement regarding Sloan.
“RIP Coach Sloan!” Mitchell said. “Legend!!”
Joe Ingles echoed Mitchell’s sentiments.
“RIP Coach.” Ingles tweeted. “You don’t think of the Jazz without thinking of Coach Sloan, Thank you.”
Current Jazz guard Mike Conley memorialized Sloan with two praying emojis.
The guard faced the Jazz Sloan led teams through the first four seasons of his career.
Twice reigning Defensive Player of the Year center Rudy Gobert extended his message to Sloan on his Instagram story.
“One of the few guys that saw something in me when not that many people did!” Gobert’s story said. “Always enjoyed the talks. You could always feel his competitiveness and love for the game.”
You can find the national reaction to the passing of Sloan here.
This story will be updated with reactions throughout the day.
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