Game 55 vs. PHX: …the truth bombs bursting in air…
Had the game on, but my heart wasn’t in it. Suffice to say:
The Suns decide to hold a first quarter tribute to Jerry Sloan, and it’s 31-19 Jazz after one. AK sprains ankle in the second quarter; Jazz score 27 total points in the second half (would’ve been 24 if Deron hadn’t shot a 3 in the closing seconds); Jazz lose. Oh yeah, and Fes shot a 20-footer, showing that it’s clearly a New Era.
What was, to me, bigger than the game was Karl Malone arriving to fill the arena with these fantastic truth bombs before tip-off. Everything he said was the most awesome thing ever until the next thing he said. The Mailman was attired in one of his brown (terracotta?) “Major Event” shirts (same as he wore to Stockton’s retirement ceremony and the Hall of Fame induction press conference). This is what he had to say:
I know my coach. I know my coach, and I know my assistant coach, and I know all these coaches. And the coach I know and the man I know have never quit or resigned in anything.
I’ve heard guys on TV talking about Coach lost his will. He don’t have the fire. I heard a lot of that. Half of those guys don’t know what they talking about. Very few of them did. Some of them I played with, I mute it when they start talking. … Imma say this about the Utah Jazz fan: You can’t BS them. They know basketball. So people can spin it any way they want to spin it, but if you lie to them they gonna call it on you. They know Jerry Sloan.
All the particulars is people can talk about it, but the man I know, and the coaches I know, they would never lose the fire and desire. They might get tired of the BS and all of us would, and here’s the thing about it. Loyalty, is what Phil Johnson did. That right there, was one of those things that who else would’ve did them. Those are the kind of friendships and buddies I like. If you done, I’m done. That right there to me is loyalty.
Karl calling out Mark Jackson. Brilliant. *applause*
I would be honored if I will be mentioned as a coach at some point in time, but I don’t think it’s the time right now. But I’ll state something I’ve always stated to the Jazz organization: I’ve always been a phone call away to do whatever I can to help this organization. They haven’t taken me up on it; that’s fine.
Some people, they don’t know what they’re talking about, and keep in mind, I played with a couple of them and that’s the professional now in the studio for ESPN. I ain’t gonna call his name; you know who he is. For them to say that the game have passed Jerry Sloan by, is bullshit…Old school work. The players gotta buy into the system. Nobody else wanna say it.
Look, did I get upset with Coach Sloan? You bet I did. Did he get upset with me in the huddle? If you only knew. But I’ll tell you one thing, when we’re on that court, we did it like he said it, and we did it over and over and over. And that’s how it was, and when it was over with, it was over with…
Newsflash. If you’re a professional, you don’t need for me to break a film down for you. If you want to stop the guy you playing, you making millions of dollars, you get you a TV and you break the player down yourself. For people to say that Coach Sloan didn’t practice as much, guess what? You gotta have guys that want to practice…You can talk to the Ron Boones and the Hot Rod Hundleys. How many practices did [John and I] miss? Gotta have guys that want to practice. You gotta have guys that buy into your system. And you gotta have guys to take ownership and professionalism in their job. It is not [the coaches’] job to handfeed these guys, and that’s part of the problem. So I’m not going to let these idiots in the studio who don’t know what the hell they talking about, talk about Coach Sloan.
Standing Ovation. Also, talking about watching film and practice? Gee, I wonder who that’s directed at.
They changed the floor back to old school. They changed the uniform back to old school. Somebody tell the damn players to start playing like in old school. (everyone laughs) … I’m just calling it like I see it. So that’s what I wanted to say. (everyone laughs and one guy starts applauding) But I don’t think I be a good fit right now. (everyone laughs)
There’s things you do that [arguments/clashes] never get up there. I remember Larry Miller in this locker room right here when me and Coach Sloan was butting heads after a game in front of everybody. Larry would drop his head and wouldn’t say a word. I would get up, Larry would sit there, he would go check on Jerry, ask him if he’s ok, come in the shower, ask me if I was ok, and here’s what both of us said. Jerry say, “I’m fine, how’s–” He called me a name, it wasn’t a bad name, but it’d be bad to y’all. And then Larry would come in there and…I would say, “I’m fine, how’s Jerry?” So right there, we did that. Larry never got in that, because he know we’ll work it out. And that’s the way it should be. (all KFAN audio)
Karl hadn’t talked to Jerry about his retirement; they’d been playing phone tag with each other for the past day and left each other 20 messages. So maybe Karl doesn’t know all the details of everything that went down, but he obviously felt that he needed to speak up for Jerry, and that moves me. Jerry deserves that kind of loyalty, and I am thrilled that somebody’s standing up for him and has the balls to say what’s on their mind. Also love hearing Karl refer to Jerry and Phil as “my coach.”
It broke my heart to have to adjust the record sheet. Nothing against Ty Corbin, of course, but it was a traumatic process. Credit for the “Ty’s Ties” moniker goes to @clintonite33.