There are only a few things in the sports world you can set your watch to. One is Terrell Owens blowing up whatever franchise he suits up for. The other was Jerry Sloan standing on the sideline for the Utah Jazz. As of today, the Cincinnati Bengals are looking ripe to explode however the Jazz are now without their iconic coach.
Today Sloan ended his amazing 23-year run as head coach of the Jazz. As a lifelong Laker fan, I should have something snakry to say right about now. But I don’t. Truth be told, I have nothing but respect for Sloan and all he’s accomplished.
For younger Laker fans all they’ve ever known was Sloan. For those of us that are a little longer in the tooth, we can remember the colorful antics of Frank Layden. But that seems like decades ago…oh, right…because it was.
While I won’t hide my hatred for the Utah franchise I make no bones about giving props where they are due. And from this end Sloan had nothing but my respect. His teams always reflected his hardnosed personality. They fought right up to – and sometimes crossing – the line that separates clean and dirty play. You knew that when the Jazz were coming to town that it was going to be an all out battle.
It’s sad to hear reports of his declining relationship with one of the game’s best young point guards in Deron Williams. If any coach could get the best out of D-Will, you felt it was Sloan. But this is a new era and his abrasive personality is becoming more and more a thing of the past. Younger players, most coddled from the jump, just don’t respond to the old school approach.
Put it this way, if Sloan coached LeBron James there would be no dancing on the sidelines. The self-proclaimed king would have danced his way into an early shower on Sloan’s watch.
Again, I hate everything about the Jazz but can honestly say that I’ll miss Sloan. Come to think of it, one of the biggest reasons I hate the Jazz had to do with the way Sloan coached them up. His teams almost always played an aggressive style of ball that was in stark contrast to the Showtime style we’ve become accustomed to here in Los Angeles.
The game is losing an all-time great and the Lakers are losing a villain unlike any other. Too bad he’s going without a single title to his name. Hey, it couldn’t all be love around here. Had to get in one last shot at the enemy.