The basketball world lost an NBA lifer Friday, as former Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan died at age 78.
Sloan had been battling Parkins’s disease and Lewy body dementia for years following diagnosis in 2016. He died in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he spent the final 23 years of his coaching career leading the Jazz.
Sloan was the No. 4 pick in the 1965 NBA Draft out of Evansville, beginning a playing and coaching career that spanned more than four decades in the professional basketball world. Sloan played more than 10 seasons, splitting time with the Baltimore Bullets and Chicago Bulls.
Shortly after his playing career ended, the Bulls hired Sloan as a scout then assistant. He spent one year in that role before ascending to head coach. Sloan held that title for two-plus seasons before being fired.
He eventually landed in Utah as an assistant and became head coach in 1988. Sloan spent the rest of his career with the Jazz, spanning more than 20 seasons, making the playoffs in all but three. Sloan and the Jazz had one of the best teams in the late 1990s, reaching the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998 but came up short on both occasions to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
Sloan was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame — alongside former Jazz point guard John Stockton — in 2009.