Jerry Sloan stories, as told by Tony Abbott
Give us a good Jerry Sloan hunting story.
So, I got called by Karl [Malone]. This had to be ’99 or 2000. He was like, “Hey, I wanna buy Jerry and Brian, [Jerry’s] son, elk tags.” And we got some friends that have a ranch, so they bought these elk tags. He’s like, “They need to go hunting.” And Karl’s like, “I’ll just pay for it; you guys take them hunting.”
So, they flew into town. Brian didn’t have his hunter safety yet…So we stopped. We did his hunter safety. We got it done. We rolled down to the ranch, and the next day we find Brian this bull and shoot this bull, and Brian’s — he’s a doctor. He’s an [emergency room] doctor, right? So, Brian’s like, “Hey, let me help skin that.”
I’m like, “Nah, I got this. You know, I, this is what I do for a living.” …
He’s like, “Well, I’m a doctor. You know, I’ll do this.”
“Have at it, Brian.”
About three seconds into it, his finger is just flayed open. I mean, like Stitch City. Well, we’re in the middle of nowhere. So, guess what he had to go — he had to go to Fairview. That was the closest place to fix his finger. I mean, it’s an ongoing story ’cause Brian hunts with me all the time still, right?
So, Jerry was up next. And so, we’re hunting with Jerry, and he pulls out this .30-06 rifle. It looked like it was from about 1912. He pulled out a box of ammo that I would’ve never shot one of the bullets out of, it was that old. I’m like, “Where’d you get that?”
He goes, “100 bucks at a garage sale. And they screwed me on it. I hate going to garage sales because they know who I am and I get [charged] top dollar.” It was [$100 for] the gun and the ammo. It was a combo. It was a deal. And he’s like, “I got screwed on that deal.”
Anyway, so we go and we start hunting. We find these bull elk…and it’s out there, like, 300 yards. And that’s a pretty good sho–I mean, Jerry, he grew up in southern Illinois. He ain’t never killed anything past 50 yards. And I’m like, “Can you shoot that?”
“Oh, I can hit that.”
And I mean, this gun…I would not have fired this gun. I’m, like, standing back, getting out of the way, and all of a sudden, he shoots, and man, he just aces this bull. I mean, just whoaaaaa, piles the thing up right — they were like 300 yards away, and I’m like, you’ve got to be freaking kidding me. He hit that thing. I thought there was no chance.
So, we wander on over to the bull. We get over there and we’re standing probably about 10 yards away, 8 to 10 yards away from this bull, and it’s just expiri–I mean, you can tell that it was done. And you know, if it was gonna be too much longer, we’d shoot it again. You don’t want it to suffer. Anyway, and it’s lying there, oh, taking its last breath and it’s about done, and I’m standing just in front of Jerry and Jerry’s just back to my right.
I remember it plain as day. And this bull’s laying there with its head down and it’s pretty much done. You know, Jerry’s gun’s — I don’t know if it’s slung over his shoulder or held in his arm. My gun’s back at the truck. You know, this is a done deal, right?
In the blink of an eye, this bull stands up, charges right at us. Jerry, without saying a word, steps in front of me, shoots this bull. It drops at my feet, and he looks at me and what do you think he says? “That’s better than a fast break.”
And that bull piled up on the ground in front of me, and I’m like, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” Unbelievable.
Jerry Sloan Hunting Story, Part 2
So, we shoot this elk. You guys know Mark McKown, the [Jazz] strength and conditioning coach? Mark came down, and Jerry goes, “Let’s go pick the elk up,” ’cause we took it to get processed. So Jerry rolls in down there, and h–and I’m like, “Hey, you wanna just come to my house and I’ll drive you?”
“No, I’ll pick you up.”
Well, Jerry rolls in in his F350 Econoline van. That’s what he drove back in 1999 or 2000, right? And he’s like — him and Mark are sitting in the front seats, so I open the back to get in, and there’s no seats. He doesn’t have any seats. What’s it full of? Garage sale stuff.
So there’s, I can’t remember if it was a cooler or a 5-gallon bucket that I sit on the back of this thing, and we roll over to the, Gandolfo’s. He wanted to
eat first, so [we went to] Gandolfo’s down in Center Street on Provo…
And we’re walking through the park and I’m following him and McKown, and I really still don’t know Jerry very well. Keep in mind, like, I’ve only officially met him like three or four weeks ago when Karl introduced him to me.
And him and McKown are walking in front of me and I’m behind him, and all of a sudden they start josseying* for position against each other. They’re, like, pushing each other out of the way and I’m like, “What?”
We get to door, Jerry leans down and he picks a penny up off the ground. When I say a penny, it wasn’t a nickel. It wasn’t a quarter. It was a penny. And he looked back up and he goes, “Picked up 17 of those in Chicago one day.”
* Jostling + Jockeying = Josseying?
Jerry Sloan Garage Sale Story #1
So he calls me and I’m going up to his h–I can’t remember, I was going up to his house for something. And he goes, “Hey! Hey! Come into the garage and check it out.” Bobbye was still alive. I don’t — I was not a f–I was not one of Bobbye’s favorite people, because she is a animal lover. This — she threatened me with — she liked me, don’t get me wrong. She threatened me with bats, take my knees out. I mean, the whole works.
So, [Jerry’s like], “Tony! Come in the garage!” And he lived in this condo, you know, up on the east side of the bench. Pulls me in[to the garage], “I gotta show you what I just got at a garage sale.”
I’m like, “What?”
Up at the top corner buried behind all this junk — and Jerry has more junk than anybody on the planet — he starts pulling stuff there. “Quick, I don’t want Bobbye to know I got it.” He pulls down this ram head.
When I say ram head, I don’t mean a big desert sheep or a Dall sheep. This is like one of those farm-raised rams that they get there, and it’s in this plastic and it’s half moldy and mildew and he goes, “Picked this up at the [garage sale].”
I’m like, “What’d you pay for that?”
“$400. Do you think I got a good deal?”
“Uh, sure, Jerry.”
The mount wasn’t worth $400. So, he thought he got over on it.
Jerry Sloan Garage Sale Story #2
So, one more garage story for you. He’s like, “Yeah, Tony, I get taken all the time, but I got the better of them one time.”
I’m like, “What are you talking about?”
He says, “I was at this thing. There was this little old lady and she was selling all this stuff and she had this bread box.” And you guys remember the old bread boxes where you rolled up the thing…
And he’s like, “And she wanted, this bread box — and she wanted 20 bucks for it. And I’m like, ‘It ain’t worth 20 bucks.'” He goes, “But I ended up buying it, and I was ticked. And I get home and I’m dusting it off and I’m cleaning it and I’m lifting it, and all of a sudden” — when you lift the bread box, it’s got the bottom thing in it…It lifts up, and there’s this little compartment underneath it.
He says, “I opened that up, and there was $300 in it. And I didn’t take it back.”
One more story for the road
He came to my expo last year…and he walked the floor with me. And we were talking after, and he’d started treatment. He hadn’t really announced so much of what was happening yet, and I was a little privy to that. And I said, “Oh, I’m heading to New Zealand after this.”
He says, “I’ll trade you.”
I’m like, “What?”
He goes, “I’m going to Boise for treatment.” …
He walked through the expo last year. Took a picture, shook a hand and signed an autograph of every person that asked him.
We had a fundraiser that night for the Chairbound Sportsman. These are guys in wheelchairs, whether it was accidents; whether they’re vets; whether it’s, you know, they were born with it; whatever the case may be.
And he gave me a basketball that we could auction off. So I got up there — and I knew Jerry pretty good, so I bought two more basketballs, right? And I had three there, but I pulled one out, and Jerry sat front and center and we auctioned this basketball off, signing it for Jerry and then having someone get a picture with Jerry signing it to them…
We sold the one ball. I offered a second one at the same price and sold it. I offered a third one at the same price and sold it. And if I’d’ve had 50, I would’ve sold 50 basketballs that night. We raised more money at that fundraiser than we’ve raised at any one ever before, and Jerry sat right there and did what he could do to help the cause.
So I called him to come this year, and he’s down at the [Pac-12] tournament. There’s a tournament right down in Vegas this weekend, so he’s down at the tournament and he’s like, “Tony, I can’t be there but what can I do for” — I mean, “What can I do for the sportsmen? What can I do for the Chairbound guys?” (1280)