SALT LAKE CITY — Ever since John Stockton and Karl Malone were immortalized in Salt Lake City with bigger-than-life statues, a question has been asked around Jazzland.
When will Greg Ostertag get his statue?
Oops. That’s not the question.
The real one: How about a statue for Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan?
Or at least an honorary John Deere tractor?
Sloan’s reluctance to have a statue and attention brought to himself might be one of the main reasons. He did, after all, resist to allowing the franchise to host a special banner-raising ceremony after he retired in 2011 with 1,223 overall victories with the franchise.
With the devastating news coming out last week that the 77-year-old legendary coach’s health continues to deteriorate because of Lewy body dementia and Parkinson’s disease, the call for a Sloan statue movement is getting louder among fans and bloggers.
One fan has even started a petition to Jazz owner Gail Miller and Utah’s front office via Change.org to build a monument honoring the man who coached the team to two NBA Finals appearances and so many wins between 1988-2011.
“Please build Jerry Sloan his much overdue statue while we still have this wonderful man here to see it,” Chad Crowell wrote in his petition. “We all know a statue is probably the last thing Jerry wants since he has always shied away from attention, but (it) would be a great tribute for all he has done for our community and the Utah Jazz organization. If you're a Jazz fan, please help by passing along and hopefully we can get some attention.”
As of Monday morning, the petition had garnered 542 of 1,000 signatures it was hoping to acquire in order to hopefully capture the attention of Jazz ownership.
Sloan's wife Tammy recently confirmed that her husband's health is declining, Jazz beat writer Eric Woodyard reported.
"Every now and then he reappears as Jerry," she said. "If he gets a good night’s sleep he is much better the next day. It’s all day-to-day."
Karl Malone on Jerry Sloan: “The younger guys might not know who Jerry Sloan is but maybe they know who Karl Malone is and that’s what he meant. He made me who I am. Enough said.“ ICYMI, here is was my profile on the legendary Jazz coach for his 77th bday https://t.co/MiCT5BkjLm pic.twitter.com/cdksxDqA7T— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) July 17, 2019