Giricek bowed to Sloan's memory, talked about their quarrel, and criticized Jordan

Giricek bowed to Sloan's memory, talked about their quarrel, and criticized Jordan
Photo: Guliver Image/Getty Images

THE BASKETBALL world was shocked by some sad news. The legendary Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan died in Salt Lake City at the age of 78. The man who lost the finals twice in a row to the Jordan Bulls had a reputation as one of the greatest analysts in NBA league history. He also put together the best attacking trio in league history. Sloan mastered the pick and roll game of Malone and Stockton, with Jeff Hornacek being the third part of the powerful trio of perhaps the best team never to win the ring.

Former Croatian basketball player Gordan Giricek was a Jazz member from 2004 to 2007. Giricek started his last NBA season in Jazzers, but did not finish it there. Utah was playing against the Bobcats when an argument broke out between the legendary coach and the Croatian basketball player. During one action Giricek made a mistake, passed the ball incorrectly, and Sloan took him out of the game. Giricek disliked that decision, and a fierce argument broke out between the coach and the players. Sloan sent Giricek to the locker room, the club suspended him, and he was soon traded for Kyle Korver to the Philadelphia 76ers.

The sad news from Salt Lake City spurred us to talk to Giricek, and in addition to Sloan, we also talked about the Last Dance.

What was Jerry Sloan like?

"I have great respect for him. Mostly because he only asked the team to do the things he himself had done as a player on the court. There are a lot of coaches today who were lazy players, who rode on others' coattails, and then turned into tyrants overnight once they became coaches. Jerry was not like that. He was consistent, and I am very saddened by the news of his death."

You didn't exactly part on the best of terms. How do you look on that situation from the game against Charlotte now?

"I don't blame him for anything. Well, I don't blame anyone for anything. Although I still don't understand why he did it, he obviously had his reasons. Life goes on. Honestly, I don't even remember that situation anymore."

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