Basketball fans everywhere mourn the loss of legendary Jazz coach Jerry Sloan

Jerry Sloan Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz

Jerry Sloan Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz

The Utah Jazz have announced that long-time head coach Jerry Sloan has passed away at age 78.

In September 2018, Williams revealed to Aaron Falk of UtahJazz.com that he and Sloan, who had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia two years prior, had cleared the air earlier that summer in a meeting in Sloan's home office.

An original member of the expansion Chicago Bulls in 1966-67, Sloan jumped to coaching after an 11-year playing career.

Sloan led the Bulls to the playoffs in their first season, and won the first of two All Star recognitions in 1967. He spent one season there before heading to the Chicago Bulls for their inaugural campaign the following year.

Darrell Griffith, who along with Eaton has his number retired by the Jazz, echoed Sloan's impact on the franchise.

Beginning in the 1985-86 season, Sloan became an assistant with the Utah Jazz, before being elevated to the head-coaching post during the 1988-89 campaign.

The Hall of Famer coached for 26 years in the National Basketball Association, spending 23 of those seasons in Utah.

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Sloan coached the Jazz through the 1990s, when Karl Malone and John Stockton helped lead Utah to multiple Western Conference titles.

During his tenure, the Jazz progressed to the playoffs on no fewer than 20 occasions.

He was Utah's coach when Michael Jordan and Co beat them in both the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals. Sloan and Popovich are the only coaches in league history to win at least 1,000 games with one team.

'We have appreciated our relationship with Jerry and acknowledge his dedication to and passion for the Utah Jazz.

'He will forever be a part of the Utah Jazz organization and we join his family, friends and fans in mourning his loss. We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise.

The Hall of Fame coach ranks fourth all-time in wins with 1,221. "Blessed that I got to play for him and learn so much from him". Even after his retirement, his presence at Jazz games always brought a roaring response from the crowd.

"Jerry Sloan was among the NBA's most respected and admired legends", National Basketball Association commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement on Friday. He will be greatly missed.

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