Former Utah Jazz Forward Thurl Bailey Learned To Respect The Game Of Basketball From Jerry Sloan

May 23, 2020, 5:04 PM | Updated: Jun 3, 2020, 1:28 pm
Thurl Bailey - Jerry Sloan - Utah Jazz...
(L) Former Utah Jazz forward Thurl Bailey #41 and (R) former Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan. (Courtesy of Deseret News)
(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It was a day that many knew was on the horizon and would come at any time but that does not make the passing of former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan any easier to digest.

Coach Sloan was one of the best coaches in NBA history. It’s part of the reason why he is a hall of fame coach that was respected by everyone, including opposing players and coaches.

Sloan Was Fiercely Competitive

Former Jazz forward Thurl Bailey joined KSL Unrivaled to discuss his former head coach. Bailey had plenty of stories about on how he enjoyed his time playing with the Sloan and the Jazz. Sloan was a tough guy and all he wanted to do is win, which he did so many times in his career with 1,223 victories. Sloan is one of five coaches to crack the 1,000-win mark.

He was able to get the locker room together for a common goal and was sometimes a hard-nosed guy in order to get everyone in line to get the job done.

“Imagine, if you have ever been in a conference room with a boss who loves to win and he wants to put a great team together and it is game day,” Bailey said. “The competition is breathing down your neck. If you magnify that 100 times, that is Jerry Sloan.”

“This guy was no-nonsense and you got what you got with him. He wasn’t any different at a high-class black-tie dinner — which he sure didn’t want to be there — or around you after a game,” Bailey added. “You got what you got with Jerry and that is what you loved about him. When it was time to go to work and play basketball, it was business to him and he was going to give you his all to prepare you for that.”

One moment that Bailey really loved that Sloan had was when John Stockton hit a game-winning three-pointer against the Houston Rockets in 1997 and put Sloan and the Jazz in the NBA Finals for the first time.

Jerry Sloan Respected The Game Of Basketball

Great coaches are always teaching beyond the basketball court. That was the case for Phil Jackson, who had the nickname “Zen Master.” Sloan taught very simply and straightforward.

Bailey recalled one of those moments with his former coach on treating the game of basketball with the respect it deserved.

“Tuck my shirt in, tuck your jersey in, son,” Bailey said of Sloan. “Respect the game. As simple as that sounds, that is how he operated. ‘You are going to respect this game. I have played too long. Worked too long and hard for you to disrespect the game. Tuck your jersey in.'”

For more coverage on the life of Jerry Sloan, go to KSLSports.com’s dedicated page to the life of the hall of fame coach. For more from Bailey, download his podcast, the Thurl Talk Podcast, where he surely will have more to say about Coach Sloan.

Tune into KSL’s Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 7-9 p.m., or download the KSL NewsRadio app to subscribe to the podcast. 

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Former Utah Jazz Forward Thurl Bailey Learned To Respect The Game Of Basketball From Jerry Sloan