CHICAGO – He was an Illinois kid who made it big for his home state’s NBA team then became one of the best on the sidelines in the history of the game.
Jerry Sloan made an impression on a lot of people during his time in basketball, from Evansville to Chicago and Salt Lake City. Many are remember the talented guard and head coach after his death at the age of 78 on Friday.
As a member of the first Bulls’ team in 1996, Sloan was dubbed the “Original Bull” as he starred for the team in the 1960s and 1970s. The scrappy guard was a two-time All-Star and four-time NBA All-Defensive team selection, which made him a favorite of teammates and the opposite for opponents.
A few members of the Bulls, including team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, offered their condonlances.
“Jerry Sloan was ‘The Original Bull’ whose tenacious defense and nightly hustle on the court represented the franchise and epitomized the city of Chicago,” said Reinsdorf in a statement released by the team. “Jerry was the face of the Bulls organization from its inception through the mid-1970s, and very appropriately, his uniform No. 4 was the first jersey retired by the team.
“A great player and a Hall-of-Fame NBA coach, most importantly, Jerry was a great person. Our sympathies go out to the Sloan family and all his many fans.”
Scottie Pippen, who faced Sloan’s Jazz a number of times in his career, including two NBA Finals, had this to say on Twitter.
Pippen even recalled his time with Sloan while together on the 1996 USA basketball Olympic “Dream Team” during the Atlanta games.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot offered her condolances on the passing of Sloan.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had his own statement in tribute to Sloan, with a nod to his years in Chicago.
Having been a coach for over two decades in Utah, a number of tributes came from the Jazz, including this lenghy tribute video put on the team’s Twitter page.