The Jazz may have dropped a winnable game on the road last night in Orlando, but they definitely don’t have the problems being faced by Vinny Del Negro and the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls had a 35 point lead at home in the third quarter against the lowly Sacramento Kings and somehow managed to lose the game.
Del Negro is obviously on the hot seat and could be fired by the time this post is published. As everyone speculates on his fate, Chris Sheridan reminds everyone that the Bulls once fired another young former player-turned-coach after a slow start. That coach was none other than Jerry Sloan, who is now the longest tenured coach in North American sports.
(I don’t have rights to the picture, but I demand you follow this link and then come back. I love the original caption:
Chicago: Chicago Bulls’ Coach Jerry Sloan, who has been with the team since its inception 13 years ago, talks at a news conference 4/30. Sloan, 37, becomes the NBA’s second youngest coach. Sloan has been unavailable for comment since his appointment was announced 4/28.
He’s been the same guy since day one. Check out the suit on Rod Thorn sitting next to Sloan.)
Sheridan got some great quotes:
And when Sloan got fired, he knew it was coming.
“Rod called me early in the morning, right before I was getting ready to get up. He just said ‘We’re going to make a change,’ and I said ‘That’s fine, there’s nothing I can do about it.’ I recall I may have said something crazy, too, I don’t know,” Sloan recounted in an interview with ESPN.com.
“The thing was, I knew I was going to get fired. Johnny Morris (a former football star for the Chicago Bears and a sportscaster for WBBM-TV) told me ‘You’re going to get fired tonight after the game,’ and he knew before the game. He came down at 6:30 and said ‘Have they fired you yet?’ and I said no, and so we did our usual pre-game interview both knowing that I was going to get fired.
The most amazing part of the story, however, illustrates the secret to any success Sloan has had in his career and in his life.
“I sat my kids down, and I said this might help you one day, how you react to it. You have to learn the good comes with the bad, this is one of those times when things aren’t very good, but I will survive,” Sloan said.