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Southern IL, NBA Legend Jerry Sloan Dies at 78
By The Associated Press
SALT LAKE CITY - Southern Illinois high school and NBA legend Jerry Sloan died Friday at the age of 78.

Sloan, the coach who took the Utah Jazz to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998 on his way to a spot in the Basketball Hall of Fame, died from complications related to Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia.

Sloan was one of southern Illinois' all-time basketball stars at McLeansboro High School and went on to play at the University of Evansville.

He was drafted fourth overall in 1965 by the Baltimore Bullets, but he spent most of his ten years playing in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls. He averaged 14 points a game as a pro, made two All-Star Game appearances, and was part of the Bulls' only division title before the Michael Jordan era.

Sloan coached the Bulls for parts of three seasons, then spent 23 seasons coaching the Jazz. The team — with John Stockton and Karl Malone leading the way in many of those seasons — finished below .500 in only one of those years. Sloan won 1,221 games in his career, the fourth-highest total in NBA history.

Utah went to the finals twice under Sloan, both times falling to Jordan and the Bulls.

Sloan entered the Hall of Fame in 2009.

He spent 34 years in the employ of the Jazz organization, either as head coach, assistant, scout or senior basketball adviser. Sloan started as a scout, was promoted as an assistant under Frank Layden in 1984 and became the sixth coach in franchise history on Dec. 9, 1988, after Layden resigned.

“Like Stockton and Malone as players, Jerry Sloan epitomized the organization,” he Jazz said in a statement. “He will be greatly missed.

Published 10:17 AM, Friday May. 22, 2020
Updated 10:56 AM, Friday May. 22, 2020

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