Jerry Sloan, former head coach of the Bulls and Jazz and member of the Hall of Fame, addressed his diagnosis of both Parkinson’s disease, and Lewy body dementia. Sloan’s diagnosis was given last fall, and he kept it a secret until the symptoms became noticeable to others. He turned 74 on March 28th.
Parkinson’s is a well-documented disease that has impacted the lives of many people, most notably, Michael J. Fox and Muhammad Ali. Although there is no cure for the disease, medication is has known to decrease the severity of symptoms.
Sloan retired from coaching during the 2010-11 season after spending 23 seasons as the head coach of the Jazz, and three as the head coach of the Bulls. He collected a record of 1,221-803 (.603%) and only had three losing seasons during his career. Those 1,221 wins put him at third all-time, trailing Lenny Wilkens (1,332) and Don Nelson (1,335). Arguably, his two most successful seasons came in 1996-97 and 1997-98. Those two years he led two loaded Utah Jazz teams to the NBA Finals, despite being defeated my Michael Jordan‘s Bulls in both series — the latter included Jordan’s “last shot.” He set a career-best in wins in 1996-97 with 64, followed by 62 wins the following year.
The 11 years that Sloan spent in the NBA get buried under his stupendous coaching career. As a 6’5 wing, Sloan spent his first season with the Baltimore Bullets after being selected as the fourth overall pick in the NBA Draft. The following year, he was chosen by the Chicago Bulls in the expansion draft, and he would spend his final ten seasons there.
He averaged 14.0 points and 7.4 rebounds for his career and was a two-time all-star (’66-67, ’68-69). On top of that, his defense was hellacious. As a six-time All-Defensive team selection, Sloan is one of 29 players to achieve that many; four were first-team, and the other two were second-team. With a career average of 2.15 steals per game, Sloan has the 11th-highest average in NBA history, just .02 SPG behind Allen Iverson and John Stockton for tenth.