Thursday, February 10, 2011

more short thoughts

jerry sloan, utah jazz head coach 1988-2011, john deere tractor enthusiast, last american alive who actually does what he said he'd do

maybe i've been spending too much time tweeting today (follow me @JazzInJersey) and thus i'm not interested in typing more than 140 characters, but i don't think i have it in me to post anything substantive tonight. a couple of key points though.
  • finally, david locke asked somebody point-blank about deron. DL: "it was reported that deron said if jerry's re-signed, i won't re-sign [next summer]. is that true?" jazz VP of basketball operations kevin o'conner: "no, that is not true." guess that puts that discussion effectively to bed. obviously deron played some role here, but it's wasn't officially leaning on the front office.
  • phil johnson is the shit. could have snaked the head coaching job for a year or two or three. instead, gave a nod to his history and symbiotic relationship (thanks for that term, locke) with sloan, and hung up his spurs right next to jerry's.
  • watching jerry sloan actually cry was like watching the earth split in two. i cried. you cried. like, when you think of the saddest thing ever, you say "i bet jerry sloan would have cried about that." but you know he wouldn't have. tonight he did, black is white and the world is upside-down.
  • tyrone corbin is going to be a good coach. probably not going to have a legacy that equals sloan's, but i think we could be a much worse position. let's go coach ty.
  • finally got some substantive tweets from CJ; as an added bonus, none ended with "#whatupdoe".

maybe i'll post tomorrow. my heart hurts. my blood hurts.


  1. Since this was too long for your FB thread:

    1989 — Chuck Daly
    1990 — Chuck Daly
    1991 — Phil Jackson
    1992 — Phil Jackson
    1993 — Phil Jackson
    1994 — Rudy Tomjanovich
    1995 — Rudy Tomjanovich
    1996 — Phil Jackson
    1997 — Phil Jackson
    1998 — Phil Jackson
    1999 — Greg Popovich
    2000 — Phil Jackson
    2001 — Phil Jackson
    2002 — Phil Jackson
    2003 — Greg Popovich
    2004 — Larry Brown
    2005 — Greg Popovich
    2006 — Pat Riley
    2007 — Greg Popovich
    2008 — Doc Rivers
    2009 — Phil Jackson
    2010 — Phil Jackson

  2. In total, seven head coaches have won NBA championships since Jerry Sloan took the reins of the Utah Jazz. The Ring argument is absolutely spot on, so long as we all agree to completely ignore any context whatsoever.

    Really look at some of these teams. They were incredible.

    Should John Stockton and Karl Malone, two Hall-of-Fame players on the same team, have won a championship on their ability alone? Probably. Was Sloan out-coached at times during the last two decades? Absolutely.

    But to say that winning is the point of sport is totally incorrect.

    If winning a championship was all that mattered, only six teams NBA teams over the last 23 years matter (which I suppose is true if you happen to be David Stern).

    If winning was the most important thing, there could be no Cleveland Browns fans.

    If winning was everything, I wouldn’t have spent the morning watching John Stockton throw a full-court pass to Karl Malone. The way Stockton jumps up and down after the layup and Sloan hugs Malone mid-game — the Jazz lost that Finals, but goddam if it still doesn’t bring me to tears.

    These teams are about hope and identity and connection, even if their players might disagree. Gail Miller said yesterday, “The players do come and go but the franchise will remain.” And that was Sloan — the franchise.

    Really look at the man. He was incredible.

    He hitchhiked 16 miles to practice; got in brawls during preseason games; ate dinner in the media room; gave press conferences next to a trash can; won 42 games with Carlos Arroyo at the point; consistently made the playoffs in a market that Ronny Seikaly wouldn’t even play in.

    There are old-timers who would go to their spots every day for coffee and their locals every night and just wish they could give Jerry Sloan some piece of John Deere merchandise they had picked up along the way, as if Sloan couldn’t buy any damn tractor he wanted.

    Probably the best thing ever said about Jerry came from Frank Layden: "Nobody fights with Jerry because you know the price would be too high. You might come out the winner, at his age, you might even lick him, but you'd lose an eye, an arm, your testicles in the process. Everything would be gone. He's a throwback, a blue-collar guy, a dirt farmer. I know you're going to think I'm kidding when I say this, but I saw Jerry Sloan fight at the Alamo, I saw him at Harpers Ferry, I saw him at Pearl Harbor. He's loyal. He's a hard worker. He's a man."

    As I watched that game against the Bulls, I also noticed Jerry’s determination as he was drawing up that last play. He wanted a timeout and then he wanted them to run the damn play. And if that didn’t work, foul. Always foul. Always extend the game. Jerry always extended the game.

    So now, if a man like Jerry Sloan, a dirt farmer who always extended the game, says it’s his time to go, I have no choice but to respect that. There’s been talk of Deron William’s discontent and the game passing Sloan by, but Jerry said it himself: If you get [in] an ice pick fight out in the parking lot, then you have to try to solve that problem.”

    This wasn’t a man who just rolled over.

    He was 68 and had to retire at some point. Frank Layden handed Sloan this job by resigning in the middle of the 1988 season, and Sloan now gives the team to Ty Corbin.

    Jerry Sloan didn’t want fans booing Carlos Boozer and he doesn’t want anyone hating Deron Williams. He wants somebody to run the play and pass the goddam ball to the open man inside for Christ’s sake.

    I don’t know where I was going with this. It’s been emotional.

    I just hope that somewhere down the line, I read about some high schooler in McLeansboro, Ill., who set a pick so goddam hard he knocked another kid’s tooth out, because I’ll know where he learned that.