SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt and former Jazz Center Mark Eaton discuss the impact Jerry Sloan had not only on the game of basketball but on the lives of people he encountered as well.
INDIANAPOLIS — Collin and Brendan Wood — like more than 5 million others the past five Sundays — watched the Michael Jordan-centered 10-episode series “The Last Dance” intently.
But Collin and Brendan watched it from a different angle than most. Their grandfather, Jerry Sloan, the Utah Jazz coach for two NBA Finals against Jordan’s Chicago Bulls in 1997 and ’98, was part of the series in a short but memorable role. After the Bulls’ 96-54 win over the Jazz in Game 3 of the ’98 Finals, the documentary showed a portion of Sloan’s postgame interview as he looked at the box score.
“This was actually the score? Is this the final?” Sloan asked.
That line elicited a laugh from both Collin and Brendan. Sloan, who died on Friday at age 78 following a battle with Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia, is best-known as a Hall of Fame coach who led the Jazz for 23 seasons through a remarkable stretch of consistency that…