Legendary Bulls Player and Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan Has Passed Away

The Utah Jazz announced this morning that retired coach and Chicago Bulls legend Jerry Sloan has passed away.

According to Utah’s statement, Sloan, 78, passed due to complications with Parkinson’s disease and Lewy Body dementia. On May 17th during NBA Inside Stuff’s 90s Reunion, Jazz-great Karl Malone asked his fellow players to keep his former coach in their prayers: ” Our coach Sloan is not doing well, so I want you guys to pray for coach Sloan.”

Jerry Reinsdorf released the following statement on behalf of the Bulls organization shortly after the news broke:

“Jerry Sloan was ‘The Original Bull’ whose tenacious defense and nightly hustle on the court represented the franchise and epitomized the city of Chicago. Jerry was the face of the Bulls organization from its inception through the mid-1970s, and very appropriately, his uniform No. 4 was the first jersey retired by the team. A great player and a Hall-of-Fame NBA coach, most importantly, Jerry was a great person. Our sympathies go out to the Sloan family and all his many fans.”

For nearly his entire career, Sloan found himself a part of the Chicago Bulls story. Whether it be his hall of fame career with the organization that stretched from 1966-1976, his coaching tenure with the organization that stretched from 1978-1982, or even his time as head coach in the Utah Jazz organization from 1988-2011, where his team became one of the Bulls’ bitter rivals for a period of time.

During his long stint in Chicago, he was a 2x All-Star and a 4x All-Defensive First Team member (and 2x second team). Over his 10 years in the organization, he averaged 14.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.2 steals per game.

Rightfully known as the Original Bull, this man lived and breathed basketball. He garnered nothing but respect throughout his NBA career, one that stretched over an incredible 46 years. As one of only four retired numbers in the Bulls organization, Chicago will always remember Sloan’s legacy.

RIP, Jerry.

(Photo by Getty Images)

written by

Elias Schuster is the Lead Chicago Bulls writer at Bleacher Nation. He started with BN full-time in 2019 immediately after graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign with a degree in Journalism (yes, he started with the Jim Boylen Era). Since joining, Elias has been the driving force behind Bulls and NBA content for both the site and social accounts. You can follow him on Twitter/X @Schuster_Elias.

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