Off-Day I Still Miss Jerry Odds and Ends
(Love that Phil is laughing in the background)
One. Jerry and Phil shared one mind in more ways than we knew:
“A few years back, Jerry lived in a condominium not far from my house,” Johnson said. “We never called each other on the phone to coordinate anything. But almost every day when I’d get in my car to go to work, we’d both get to the same corner at the same time.”
“Yup,” Sloan chuckled. “We pulled into the parking lot at Energy Solutions Arena so many times together that people might have thought we were following one another.” (NBA)
That just makes me smile. Also from the article, Jerry’s 2,000-acre farm in McLeansboro “is so poor that rabbits have to carry their lunch across it.”
Two. CJ recently talked about Jerry’s resignation:
Coach Sloan leaving was like ripping out the heart of the team. Even if there were differences between guys, it was, especially for me, losing more than a coach. It was more like–especially being so young coming here–it was like a teacher, a coach, almost like a family member the way he took care of me, the way he really kind of brought me up as far as basketball-wise and even just becoming a man, the talks we would have. I think people don’t really know how much it weighed on us to go through all that change especially somewhere where everything is so constant.
CJ also explains his (and the team’s?) reasoning for not attending the announcement press conference:
I know people were mad because we didn’t come, and the thing was, when everything happened in the locker room that night, nobody actually thought it was going to happen. And the next day I got a call probably 40, 45 minutes before…[A Jazz staffer] said just to let you know, Coach Sloan is going to announce his retirement at about 2 or 3 or whatever it was.
Us showing up would’ve just turned into a circus. It would’ve just came on and be like what really happened, what is this about, do you think this is why that happened, and it would’ve just been a bunch of questions that took away from everything it really was about.
It was about a Hall of Fame coach that had done so much for hundreds of players, a city, an organization, and he decided it was his time to go, and I think it would’ve took that whole perspective away from the press conference if all of us were to showed up at that time. (KUTV)
Three. Never realized until recently that Jerry really only went through 4 starting point guards in his 20+ years with the Jazz. Pretty incredible if you think about it.
Four. When Jerry met Bobbye:
Even more stunning to Sloan was the proverbial new girl in town. Barbara Lou Irvin, known as “Bobbye,” had just moved to McLeansboro when he spotted the pretty brunette at the movies one night. But he was too shy to introduce himself–Wow,” he remembers thinking, in typical understated manner. “She’s pretty tall.”
At 5-foot, 9-inches, Bobbye was a long-legged baton twirler and freshman class president–popular, outgoing, and independent. Sloan was three inches shorter than she was and, as he recalls, “scared of my shadow.” So how did the match get made?
“I got taller,” he laughs. He still doesn’t know how he mustered the nerve to ask Bobbye to the movies, but the pair began dating while they were freshman, and Sloan shot up in height. As a 6-foot, 5-inch basketball star at McLeansboro High School, the small-town boy captured the attention of the state’s largest university, and when Bobbye headed to St. Louis to enroll in a three-year nursing program, Sloan moved to the big city of Urbana-Champaign to attend the University of Illinois on a basketball scholarship. (Evansville Business; great read)
Five. Did you know:
Jerry was drafted by the Baltimore Bullets after his junior year, but elected to stay in school and finish his degree in education because he didn’t know if he’d make it as a professional basketball player. Even after he “made it” with the Bulls and even as he made All-Star teams and received All-Defense honors year after year after year, he shuttled back to Evansville during the summers to work on his Masters in Education because he was “convinced he’d need a job once his playing days were over.” (Evansville Business)