Jerry Sloan has seen better days. As he admitted himself to the Salt Lake Tribune, he’s suffering from Parkinson’s disease and a form of dementia.
Sloan reportedly was diagnosed in 2015. While the former Jazz coach leads an active life, his diseases are progressing.
Former Utah Jazz coach Sloan is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, and has led the Utah Jazz to the NBA finals twice during his 23 seasons of coaching with the team.
There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, although, in some cases, medication can “markedly improve symptoms.” In Sloan’s case, the symptoms continue to progress.
When the news first came out, Sloan was devastated.
“It was a little scary because I thought, ‘Now what am I going to do? My career is over,” said Sloan.
Sloan stepped down from his coaching duties, and has spent a few years as a consultant for the Jazz, but hasn’t done much lately, other than a little scouting.
As his condition doesn’t seem to improve, Sloan is not sure what will happen to him.
“The shaking has gotten worse,” he said. “Everything else has stayed about the same. That’s why, each day, I’m waiting for something drastic to happen. But nothing like that has happened so far.”
At home these days, Sloan maintains a routine that includes a 4-mile walk every morning. He usually takes his dog. His wife keeps an updated calendar of events on the large wooden desk in his office to help him remember any approaching events in their lives. Like an upcoming trip to the DMV.
“That test a little intimidating at this point,” Sloan said. “But I don’t want to be complaining. You do what you can do. People have to live their own life without worrying about someone like myself.”
According to Sloan, he is also dealing with Lewy body dementia, a neurological disorder that manifests itself in difficulty with memory, problem solving, planning and analytical thinking.
As a player, Sloan was a 2-time NBA All-Star, playing 11 seasons in the NBA, 10 of them for the Chicago Bulls. Sloan averaged career-high 18.3 ppg in 1970-71 season. During his playing career, Sloan appeared in 755 NBA games, averaging 14.0 ppg and 7.4 rpg in 34.1 mpg.
A 2009 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Sloan spent 23 seasons as the head coach of the Jazz (1988-2011), finishing his career with the third most wins in NBA history (1,221-803), sixth best winning percentage (.603) all-time (min. 500 wins), two NBA Finals appearances (1997 and 1998) and seven division titles.
He also guided the Jazz to 16 consecutive winning seasons and thirteen 50-win seasons. Sloan is one of just four coaches in league history to win at least 50 games in 10 different seasons (Pat Riley, Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich).
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