NBA Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan, a former All-Star player and one of the best coaches to ever patrol the sidelines, is facing a serious health situation due to the worsening effects of dementia and Parkinson's disease.
According to a report from Gordon Monson, whose entire column is well worth a read, Sloan's condition is deteriorating, and those around him describe him as "dying." Via the Salt Lake Tribune:
When I recently asked someone outside the family, someone who would know the details about Sloan, asked how he was doing at age 77, even though I already had been told by others, he said three words.
"He is dying."
Sloan's double-barreled afflictions hit him a fistful of years ago, and he battled on. Their effects now are worsening. Every day is different for him, some better than others, most not so good. It's basically a slide into oblivion. He's frail. He's physically and mentally limited. Around the clock care is required for him. Although, in the more recent past the old coach has been able to attend Jazz games, he will go no more.
He still likes to visit with friends in his private space and trade stories, when he's up for it. Sloan walks when he can. His wife, Tammy, has been a saint and a stalwart in doing whatever she can to help her man, the man, spending time and sharing love with him as much as possible. His mind, though, is slipping away.
Sloan was diagnosed with the debilitating illnesses in 2016, and decided to go public with his fight due to noticeable effects. "I don't want people feeling sorry for me," Sloan said at the time, but in the wake of the latest updates, it's hard to do anything but.
One of the toughest players around back in his day, Sloan made two All-Star Games and was a six-time All-Defensive selection for the Chicago Bulls in the 1960s and 1970s. After retiring from playing in 1976, the team subsequently retired his No. 4, making him the first player in franchise history to have his jersey raised to the rafters.
From there he joined the coaching ranks, working first with the Bulls before joining the Jazz in 1985 as an assistant coach. In 1988 he became head coach and kept the job all the way until 2011, racking up 1,221 regular season wins -- good for fourth all-time -- and taking the Jazz to the playoffs 15 straight times from 1989-2003.