Remembering Jerry Sloan 03

In this June 19, 2007, photo, Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan jokes with media and staff after a pre-draft workout at the Zions Bank Basketball Center in Salt Lake City.

Reaction to the death of longtime Utah Jazz coach and Basketball Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan, who died Friday at the age of 78, filled social media throughout the day as various people paid their respects to the man who was a basketball lion both as a coach and player, but remembered as kind, humble and gracious off the court.

Weber State star and current NBA superstar Damian Lillard tweeted “Rest In Peace Jerry Sloan” on Friday morning with a link to his song “Wasatch Front” from his first rap studio album, “The Letter O.” In that song, Lillard tells the story of his playing days at Weber State. The chorus includes the line, “The Jazz up the road, I wanna play for Jerry Sloan.”

Here is a sample of other reactions from around the league and the state of Utah:

“It’s a sad day for all of us who knew Jerry Sloan. Not only on the basketball court but, more importantly, as a human being. He was genuine and true. And that is rare. He was a mentor for me from afar until I got to know him. A man who suffered no fools, he possessed a humor, often disguised, and had a heart as big as the prairie.” — San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich

“Jerry Sloan was among the NBA’s most respected and admired legends.” — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver

“Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with 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.” — Statement from the Utah Jazz

“I was honored by the opportunity to follow in Coach Sloan’s giant footsteps, and subsequently humbled by the task of trying to uphold the standards and the success that are synonymous with his legacy. The clear identity that he established for Jazz Basketball — unselfishness, toughness and the essential importance of Team – has always left a palpable responsibility to strive for in carrying forward.” — Jazz coach Quin Snyder

“It was a privilege to play against a Jerry Sloan coached team, I always knew that we would be severely tested. His overall philosophy on both sides of the ball was fundamentally solid and always one step ahead of the game.” — Miami Heat President Pat Riley

“He was a great coach and a great player, too. You tend to forget just how good certain players were. And Jerry, for rebounding, for defense, for toughness, there weren’t many players in his category for those three things.” — longtime NBA executive Rod Thorn

“Jerry Sloan was a fierce competitor and disciplinarian — and he was the heart and soul of the Utah Jazz for years. His emphasis on defense and team play got the most out of the players’ raw talent. He was ‘old school’ and will be greatly missed. Our prayers are with Jerry Sloan’s family and friends as they mourn his passing.” — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert

“Thank you for the opportunities, thank you for the lessons, thank you for help mold me into a great basketball player and man. I will always bring my “lunch pail” to work! RIP Coach Sloan” — former Utah forward Paul Millsap

“I know things didn’t end well between us in Utah, however I’m glad that I got the chance to sit down with him before it was too late ... Blessed that I got to play for him and learn so much from him during my 5 1/2 years in Utah. You knew he always had your back when you stepped out on that court.” — former Utah guard Deron Williams

“In a league that often values style, Jerry Sloan was the substance ... and he was simply damn good at basketball.” — ESPN NBA host Rachel Nichols

“I loved everything about Jerry Sloan, from the way he played to the way he coached. He was a tenacious competitor who represented the Bulls of the ’70s so well. Jerry became one of my favorite coaches when he was on the 1996 Dream Team staff and it was an honor to learn from him.” — Chicago Bulls great Scottie Pippen

“Coach made (me) feel like family! Not only did coach teach us accountability of being a good teammate but he taught us life through consistent effort! ... When I signed to Utah as a (free agent), coach’s words were very direct over the phone, “I don’t talk money, be on time & be accountable” then he hung up on me! He never lied, he coached you in front of your peers! No favorites! No passes! No BS! PLAY DEFENSE!” — Former NBA player and coach Earl Watson

“Jerry Sloan will always have a special place in NBA history — and in the hearts of all Utahns. He was a dynamic leader who transformed the Utah Jazz from a small franchise team to a perennial powerhouse. His contributions to our state and to the game of basketball will long live on. May God bless Jerry Sloan and all members of the Jazz family.” — former Sen. Orrin Hatch

Contact Brett Hein at bhein@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter @bhein3 and @WeberHQ.

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