Utah Jazz: Karl Malone Defends Jerry Sloan, Calls Out Jazz Players

Scott LambsonContributor IIIFebruary 12, 2011

The "Mailman" Karl Malone was in town Friday night for what he thought would be an opportunity to watch his former coach, Jerry Sloan, roam the sidelines against the Phoenix Suns.

Instead, the Mailman found himself in front of a bunch of media being asked why his Hall of Fame coach resigned mid-season.

Malone, who was visibly upset about the events of the past 48 hours, delivered some honest words for the local media.

"The man I know, the coach I know, doesn't quit anything," said Malone, obviously implying that Sloan didn't act alone in his abrupt decision.

When questioned further about his remarks, the Mailman simply replied, "What I said is what I said. I know Jerry Sloan. And the people that know him the closest know that man would never resign or quit—if you want to—on nothing. I don't care what it is."

Malone also had harsh words for the current Jazz players, most notably star point guard Deron Williams who has complained multiple times that the Jazz don't watch enough game film or practice enough.

“If you’re professional, you don’t need for me to break a film down for you. If you want to stop the guy you’re playing, you get your TV, and you break down the player yourself.”

Malone continued.

“For people to say Coach Sloan didn’t practice much, guess what? You’ve got to have guys that want to practice."

Malone went on to acknowledge the loyalty of long-time assistant coach Phil Johnson who decided to walk away with Sloan.

"We lost two head coaches."

The Mailman, who has never been afraid to speak his mind, was clearly upset about how things played out within the Jazz organization and how Jazz fans deserved better.

"What we lost will never be replaced. Utah Jazz fans know the game of basketball and you can't BS them. People can spin it anyway they want to spin it, but if you lie to them, they are going to call you on it. They know Jerry Sloan."

As a true Jazz fan, I completely agree with everything Malone had to say, and yes I can see through all the BS.

Jerry Sloan doesn't coach 23 years demanding discipline and commitment, and then all of the sudden just quit in the middle of a season.

What happened is that his floor leader quit listening to him.

If it was about Jerry getting tired, then why did Phil Johnson leave as well?

Obviously because there was an internal problem and Phil had Jerry's back, that's why.

After a season full of confrontations, I think the icing on the cake for Sloan was that D-Will defied him and ran his own plays in a personally pitiful effort against the Bulls.

Not only did D-Will argue with Sloan at halftime of that last historic game, but he carelessly turned the ball over on the last three possessions of the game.

Even worse, when the game was over, D-Will went and hugged Carlos Boozer at mid-court with a smile on his face. The same Boozer who stiffed Utah for more money in Chicago.

ESPN's Jalen Rose later pointed out, that Jerry Sloan can't stand players fraternizing after games under any circumstances.

I believe Sloan just couldn't put up with that crap any longer. Not only was his star player changing plays and confronting him in the locker room, he was hugging his opponent at mid-court after getting his butt kicked in front of his home fans.

It was new school at its worst, simply ridiculous, and both Jerry and Phil knew it.

Although Jerry deserved a much better exit than his current players gave him, I am actually quite happy for him.

He can finally get away from all the egos, gold earrings, and tattoos that became the NBA, and get back to a normal life.

Amen, Karl Malone, thanks for reminding us of what old school was, and that you still don't need diamonds in your ears to get our attention.