SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz announced plans Tuesday to honor the legacy of Hall of Fame Coach Jerry Sloan with a special tribute patch to be worn on team jerseys and warm-ups when the remainder of the 2019-20 season resumes in Orlando.
The tribute patch will feature the number 1,223 in recognition of the total number of wins during Sloan’s 23 seasons as head coach of the Jazz. It will be worn for the first time on July 23 as part of the NBA restart.
During the 2020-21 season, Jazz jerseys will display a commemorative black strip with the same “1223” design. Additional details on how the franchise will honor Sloan next season will be announced later. Sloan passed away in May 2020 due to complications from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia at the age of 78.
“Coach Jerry Sloan will forever be in the hearts of the Utah Jazz organization and fans everywhere, and we feel it is only fitting to honor him in this way,” said Greg Miller, member of the NBA Board of Governors and Director of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies. “His contributions to our Jazz family and communities are a defining part of our franchise history and we look forward to seeing 1,223 on the jerseys of our players in Orlando as a nod to his legacy.”
Fans can purchase a commemorative jersey patch for $12.23 with proceeds benefiting the Michael J. Fox Foundation, dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease. Patches can be purchased both in-store and at the Jazz Team Store and can be affixed on a jersey. The Jazz have made a financial contribution in Sloan’s memory to the Michael J. Fox Foundation and direct donations are also encouraged.
A 2009 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Sloan spent 23 seasons as the head coach of the Jazz (1988-2011), finishing his career with the third most wins in NBA history (1,221-803), sixth best winning percentage (.603) all-time (min. 500 wins), two NBA Finals appearances (1997 and 1998) and seven division titles. He also guided the Jazz to 16 consecutive winning seasons and thirteen 50-win seasons. Sloan’s teams made 20 trips to the NBA Playoffs (19 with Utah: 1989-2003, ’07-10) and his 98 playoff wins are the sixth most in NBA history.
Sloan worked for the Jazz organization for 34 years as either head coach, assistant, scout or senior basketball adviser. He started as a scout (1983-84), became an assistant coach to Frank Layden on Nov. 19, 1984, and was named the sixth head coach in franchise history on December 9, 1988, when Layden resigned.
Twenty-three seasons and 1,809 games later, Sloan finished his career as the Jazz’s winningest coach based on both wins and winning percentage (1,127-682, .623). The longest tenured coach with one franchise in all of major professional sports at the time of his retirement, there were 245 NBA head coaching changes during his Jazz coaching career. Sloan coached 133 different players during his tenure as head coach of the Jazz.
The Jazz have created a website hub that honors Sloan’s remarkable career.