Jerry Sloan retires mid-season

The headline of today and probably the NBA season is this: Jerry Sloan has decided to call it quits, resigning as head coach of the Utah Jazz Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011.

Jerry Sloan

Sloan, an NBA player from 1965-1976, and most notably coach of the Jazz for 23 years, is one of the best NBA coaches ever (and the best to never win a ring) and is third in all-time wins among NBA coaches. While Sloan isn’t one of the greatest all-time players, he is considered one of the toughest guys to ever play the game. And Sloan has coached John Stockton, one of the best point guards ever, and Karl Malone, a player who has scored the 2nd most points ever and pulled down the 5th most rebounds ever in NBA history. And Sloan coached Deron Williams, one of the top point guards in the NBA today.

image via Slam Online

John Stockton and Karl Malone

It comes as a shock to much of the NBA community that Sloan retired without finishing the season and there might be a reason for his decision.

But it turns out Williams might have contributed to Sloan’s retirement. Williams and Sloan almost came to blows at halftime of Wednesday’s game against Chicago, and it isn’t the first time the two have had a major confrontation. And supposedly Williams said he wouldn’t re-sign with the team if Sloan was still coach.

It’s unclear if Sloan retired because he felt he could no long coexist with Williams, felt he was fighting a losing battle against ownership and Williams or no longer had the will to fight at 68 years old.

Sloan’s legacy will stay in tact: he will go down as one of the best coaches of all time and is a Hall of Famer. But if Williams is responsible for why one of the greatest professional coaches of all-time, a classy guy, couldn’t finish the season, Williams’ legacy will be pushing out Sloan, no matter how great of a career Williams has.

It turns out Williams may not be back in Utah even with Sloan gone.

image via ESPN

You can't hold your hands up on this one, Deron

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