Sloan Fights Rasheed Wallace 23 Years Ago Today

May 23, 2022, 4:07 PM
Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan (Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Allsport)
(Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Allsport)

SALT LAKE CITY – There is no sports figure more beloved in the state of Utah than former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, but 23 years ago, his fight with Rasheed Wallace was a reminder that he had a tough side.

On May 23, 1999, Sloan and the Portland Trail Blazers star nearly came to blows after Wallace put his hands on Jazz forward Thurl Bailey.

The interaction occurred right in front of the Jazz bench, and Sloan had to be restrained from going after Wallace.

The second anniversary of Sloan’s passing due to complications with Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia was on Sunday, May 22. The longtime Jazz coach was 78 years old.

Wallace was 6-10, and just 24 years old during the confrontation, but that didn’t scare off the 6-5, 57-year-old Sloan.

“I am always going to stand up for my players,” Sloan said of the altercation. “If I take one on the nose it’s not going to bother me. I don’t want my players to get banged up, and hopefully, they don’t do something silly.”

Wallace and the Trail Blazers eliminated the heavily favored Jazz in the 1999 Western Conference Semifinals in six games.

Of course, that wasn’t Sloan’s only infamous scuffle during his time in the NBA.

In 2003 when the Jazz were playing the Sacramento Kings, Sloan was very upset with a call made by official Courtney Kirkland. Sloan pushed Kirkland and was immediately ejected and was given a seven-game suspension.

In 1991, the Jazz were on the road facing the Detroit Pistons. Guard John Stockton and Pistons forward Dennis Rodman got tangled up.

Sloan went out on the floor and had to be held back by his assistant coaches. Rodman and Sloan kept jawing back and forth.

After Rodman made a free throw, he pointed at Sloan when the Jazz head coach returned the favor by blowing a kiss to Rodman.

The Pistons won the game 123-115.

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