NBA

Jerry Sloan: 'The Original Bull' produced iconic Jazz team to take on Michael Jordan

By Sports Desk May 22, 2020

Jerry Sloan, an All-Star player who went on to become the most successful coach in Utah Jazz history, died on Friday following a long battle with Parkinson's disease at the age of 78. 
 
The Jazz announced Sloan's death from complications from Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, which the Basketball Hall of Fame member revealed he was dealing with in 2016. 
 
Sloan coached the Jazz for 23 seasons before resigning during the 2010-11 season and ranks fourth in NBA history with 1,221 victories.

His 1,127 wins with Utah are the second-most of any coach with one franchise, trailing only San Antonio's Gregg Popovich.  
 
"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," the team said in a statement. 

"We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise." 
 
Led by future Hall of Famers Karl Malone and John Stockton, Sloan's Utah teams were a model of consistency.

He guided the Jazz to playoff appearances for his first 15 seasons after being promoted to head coach following Frank Layden's resignation in December 1988. 

The Jazz won 50 or more games 13 times in his tenure, highlighted by back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 1997 and 1998. 
 
Utah lost to the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls, the team Sloan spent the majority of his playing career with, in both of those Finals trips, with each series ending 4-2.

He also coached the Bulls for three seasons from before joining the Jazz organization as a scout in 1983. 
 
Sloan compiled a 1,127-682 regular-season record with Utah and amassed 96 more wins while leading the Jazz to the playoffs 19 times in total, with seven division titles. 

He was honored by the franchise in 2014 with a No. 1,223 banner, representing his combined win total with the Jazz, that currently hangs in the rafters at the team's home venue, Vivint Smart Home Arena. 
 
"Like Stockton and Malone as players, Jerry Sloan epitomized the organization," the Jazz said. "He will be greatly missed.

"We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Tammy, the entire Sloan family and all who knew and loved him." 
 
Sloan also had his No. 4 jersey retired by the Bulls in 1978, the first player in franchise history to receive the honor.

Dubbed "The Original Bull" after being acquired from the Baltimore Bullets prior to Chicago's expansion-year 1966-67 season, the McLeansboro, Illinois native made two All-Star teams during a 10-year run with the Bulls that concluded with his retirement in 1976. 
 
Known for his tenacity and defensive skills, Sloan averaged 14 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.2 steals per game over 11 NBA seasons, and is the only player in league history to average more than seven rebounds and two steals a game. 
 
"Jerry Sloan was 'The Original Bull' whose tenacious defense and nightly hustle on the court represented the franchise and epitomized the city of Chicago," Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement. 

"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." 
 
Sloan was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, two years before abruptly resigning 54 games into Utah's 2011-12 season. He rejoined the Jazz as a senior adviser in 2013. 

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    The last two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks are set to face off on Sunday as Patrick Mahomes' Kansas City Chiefs face Tom Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Defending champions Kansas City have a 9-1 record this season, while the Buccaneers are 7-3.

    Though Tampa have lost two of their past three games, the Chiefs' most recent two victories have been by tight margins, and now an all-time great in the form of six-time Super Bowl champion Brady goes up against the league's current star quarterback.

    The game in Florida is among the key Thanksgiving weekend matchups we preview with Stats Perform data.

    FEATURED GAME

    Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Sunday, 4:25pm (all times Eastern)

    - This game is a matchup of the quarterbacks who won the past two Super Bowls, with Brady winning Super Bowl LIII two seasons ago with the New England Patriots and Mahomes and the Chiefs winning the Lombardi Trophy last February. The Bucs are 1-4 this season versus QBs who have started in Super Bowls, and 6-0 in all other games.

    - Kansas City have reeled off five straight victories, scoring 30 or more points in each of the last four contests. In the franchise's 61-year history, the team has scored 30 or more points in five successive games on two occasions, in 2004 and 2018 (both streaks ended at five games).

    - With a 13.5 touchdown-interception ratio (27 TD passes, two picks), Mahomes is tied for the second best single-season mark among qualifiers in league history. He is topped by only Brady and his 14.0 mark in 2016 as a member of the Patriots (28 and two).

    - Twenty years and six days after making his NFL debut, Brady will look to snap a two-game home losing streak. It is the third time in his career and first since 2006 that the veteran campaigner has lost consecutive home contests in the regular season; he has never suffered a three-game home losing streak.

    OTHER KEY GAMES

    Arizona Cardinals at New England Patriots - Sunday, 1pm

    - New England have won six of the last seven games between these teams dating back to 1993, with Arizona's only win coming in 2012 in Foxborough. The Cardinals have not scored more than 21 points in any of those seven games – they had at least 24 in six of the first seven all-time meetings between these teams (6-1).

    Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts - Sunday, 1pm

    - Ryan Tannehill has 44 touchdown passes and nine interceptions in his 20 starts with Tennessee. His 4.89 TD/INT ratio is the best all-time by a quarterback in his first 20 starts with a team, surpassing Peyton Manning with the Denver Broncos (4.82).

    Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers - Sunday, 8:20pm

    - Green Bay are 15-3 against Chicago since the 2011 season – the third best record by one team against a divisional opponent in that span, behind the Patriots against the New York Jets (17-2) and the Steelers against the Cinciannati Bengals (16-3). Since the start of last season, the Bears have gone 14 games scoring fewer than 20 points. Only the Jets (17), Bengals (15), and Washington (15) have had more such games.

    Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles - Monday, 8:15pm

    - The Eagles are 2-5 against the Seahawks in Philadelphia, their worst home record against any active franchise. Losers of the last five such matchups, Philly have not dropped six consecutive home games to a single opponent since losing six straight to the Cardinals from 1973 to 1978.

    ELSEWHERE...

    Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo Bills - Sunday, 1pm

    - The Chargers have won four straight over the Bills by a combined 80 points, winning each by double digits. The last time the Bills beat the Chargers was on October 19, 2008 – that 12-year span without a win is the fourth-longest active drought by any team against a conference opponent.

    Las Vegas Raiders at Atlanta Falcons - Sunday, 1pm

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  • Talking Point: Along come Burnley as Guardiola's Man City eye goals flurry Talking Point: Along come Burnley as Guardiola's Man City eye goals flurry

    Pep Guardiola is convinced the floodgates are about to open for his Manchester City team and Saturday's opponents Burnley may already be fearing the worst.

    On their last three visits to the Etihad Stadium, Burnley have lost 5-0 on each occasion, with a pair of Premier League thrashings coming either side of an FA Cup trouncing.

    Speaking this week, Guardiola said he would need to "find a solution" to his City team's scoring problem, which has seen them net a modest 10 goals in their opening eight Premier League fixtures this season.

    He mentioned the importance of fixing "little details", adding: "In one or two games, this kind of thing will get better. The season is still so young and I'm fully optimistic we're going to do a good season."

    Given he recently signed a contract extension until the end of the 2022-23 season, City will hope Guardiola's hunch proves correct and the good times return for City.

     

    Shots fired, but little damage done

    Burnley must look back misty-eyed at the 1-1 draw they secured against City at Turf Moor in February 2018, given that is the most change they have got out of a Guardiola team.

    Raheem Sterling missed a sitter in that game before Johann Berg Gudmundsson scored a late equaliser for Burnley, who were one of just six teams to take points off City in their 100-point season.

    Since then, City have won by three or more goals in five of the six meetings between the sides, having to settle for a 1-0 victory in the game that was the odd one out.

    Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez both scored twice and David Silva was also on the mark in the most recent 5-0 trouncing, in June, and City's overall Premier League record against Burnley during the Guardiola era shows they have taken 22 points from a possible 24, scoring 23 goals and conceding just four.

    City have taken 155 shots in those eight games against the Clarets, of which 57 were on target, while Burnley have returned fire with just 47 attempts, with only 13 of those not going astray.

    The Eastlands outfit have taken 125 shots so far this term, which is more than early leaders Tottenham (115) have managed, but their quota of opportunities defined by Opta as 'big chances' is low compared to Jose Mourinho's side.

    City have had just 15 big chances so far, to 29 for Tottenham and 33 for Liverpool, and exacerbating their problem at that end of the pitch has been their wastefulness.

    Their record is chronically bad when it comes to putting away the big chances, with City converting just 26.67 per cent.

    Stand that figure against Tottenham's 62.07 per cent, Liverpool's 48.48 per cent, Chelsea's 60 per cent and Leicester City's 63.64 per cent, and it is easy to see why City are some distance behind the top four.

    Indeed, since the 2012-13 season, only three teams have finished a campaign with a lower big-chance conversion rate than City's current mark (Norwich City in 2013-14, Aston Villa in 2014-15, Brighton in 2019-20).

     

    Banishing the 'big' problem is City's mission

    City's dominance of the rivalry with Burnley does not mean it stands to be repeated in Saturday's game, but Guardiola may have justifiable cause to expect an upturn in the goals return.

    It was a matter of months ago that City were polishing off a season in which they had 141 big chances in 38 games (3.7 per game, compared to 1.9 this season), and in which they put away a healthier 41.13 per cent of those opportunities.

    That league campaign was considered by some a failure given Liverpool won the title by 18 points, but City's haul of 102 goals was 17 higher than the champions achieved, so scoring was not the area where they were falling down.

    City have been without Sergio Aguero for much of the campaign so far due to knee trouble, and with the Argentine striker in their ranks many see them posing a greater goal threat.

    What Opta data shows is that City's expected goals per game rises to 2.38 when Aguero plays, compared to 2.14 without him, based on Premier League matches since the start of the 2019-20 campaign.

    They have 3.6 big chances per game when Aguero plays, and 3.1 when he does not, but the actual goals per game only inflates slightly, from 2.4 goals to 2.5, when the 32-year-old features.

    Others must take responsibility for this malaise. City have missed their last seven big chances - spanning their last four Premier League games - and against Tottenham last time out they had 22 shots at goal.

    Sooner or later, the dam will break and City goals will come all at a rush - or at least that is what Guardiola hopes, and must believe, will happen.

    The trouble is, City cannot afford to be chasing Liverpool again, or Spurs, Chelsea or Leicester for that matter, in the title race.

    If the dam holds against Burnley, and City cannot comfortably beat Sean Dyche's side, who have one win, five points, and a mere four goals this season, then there will be real cause for concern.

    Another 5-0 or similar, however, could be the turning-point result that Guardiola senses is coming City's way.

  • Diego Maradona dies: When Argentina's erratic genius overstepped the line Diego Maradona dies: When Argentina's erratic genius overstepped the line

    Diego Maradona was a majestic footballer who was idolised by millions worldwide, but the Argentina great was not the best role model off the pitch.

    His death at the age of 60 on Wednesday led to an outpouring of grief from within sport and beyond.

    The 1986 World Cup winner is revered in his homeland, where thousands queued to file past his coffin on Thursday morning, as well as in Italy, where he played arguably the best football of his career for Napoli.

    Maradona also battled major drug and alcohol problems, once shot at journalists, had a turbulent private life and took a swipe at Pope John Paul II.

    Those episodes all form part of the legend and the bigger picture when it comes to remembering the most talented player of his generation.

    DRUGS DON'T WORK

    Maradona was said to have first dabbled in drugs in the mid-1980s, and cocaine began to play a big part in his career. In Naples, a city where chaos plays a big part in the daily life of many, Maradona lived on the edge, risking his health with the Class A drug while attempting to still produce on the pitch.

    His form began to fall away, and comeuppance came with a 15-month drugs ban imposed in 1991, before Maradona moved to Sevilla.

    A seemingly resurgent Maradona was sent home from the 1994 World Cup after testing positive for a banned stimulant, and drugs continued to be a problem for Argentina's favourite son after he retired from playing. He later claimed to have given up drugs in 2004, following serious heart problems that led him to spend time in intensive care.

    GUN DRAMA

    Maradona was sentenced to a suspended jail sentence of two years and 10 months in 1998, four years on from an incident that saw him shoot at journalists with an air rifle.

    The February 1994 episode occurred outside his Buenos Aires home, and it was reported that four people were injured.

    Footage showed Maradona perched behind a Mercedes car, pointing the gun.

    TAXING TIMES

    He claimed to have been "treated like the worst criminal" by Italian authorities that were pursuing him for allegedly unpaid taxes.

    Speaking in 2016, Maradona told the Corriere della Sera newspaper: "I don't owe anything. They have been hounding me unfairly over the last 25 years for €40million with €35million in fines for an alleged tax violation that every single judge has ruled did not exist."

    Maradona added, according to ESPN, that he had been singled out as the only footballer to have jewellery and watches taken away by authorities.

    HOW WOULD HE MANAGE?

    Putting Maradona in charge of the Argentina national team looked like a dicey move, and his two-year reign effectively ended with a 4-0 defeat to Germany in the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals.

    Argentina had been in danger of missing out on the tournament but won their last two qualifying matches to scrape into the finals.

    Maradona was predictably elated with qualification, proving his doubters wrong, and ran into trouble when he told reporters to "suck it and keep on sucking it".

    FIFA imposed a two-month ban for the lewd outburst, with Maradona apologising for his comments.

    CEILING A DEAL WITH THE POPE

    By the late 1980s, Maradona was arguably the world's most celebrated sports star.

    Such celebrity status opens doors, and he met with Pope John Paul II.

    Maradona told a story in his autobiography, I Am Diego, of how he took issue with the pontiff's concern for poverty-stricken children, given the luxury set-up at the Vatican.

    He wrote: "Yes, I did argue with the Pope. I argued with him because I've been to the Vatican and seen the gold ceilings. And then I hear the Pope saying that the Church was concerned about poor kids. So? Sell the ceilings, mate! Do something!"

    HAND OF GOD

    From the Pope, to the Hand of God.

    Maradona's status in England will forever be tainted by his controversial opening goal for Argentina against Bobby Robson's team in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final.

    By punching the ball past goalkeeper Peter Shilton, who has not forgiven Maradona, the mercurial captain of Los Albiceleste became an instant hate figure for English supporters.

    Maradona claimed it was God's hand that helped Argentina past their rivals at the Stadio Azteca, a step nearer their eventual triumph and his finest moment in the game.

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