Karl Malone doesn’t like to sugarcoat anything. He’s a straight shooter and he’ll tell it like it is. So, when given an opportunity to talk about the sudden resignation of Jerry Sloan as coach of the Utah Jazz, the Jazz’s all-time leading scorer got some things off his chest and offered his support to his former coach.
“I just want to throw some things out there. I know Coach Sloan. We can call it resigning, quitting, whatever you want to call it. The man I know never quit anything. And Phil Johnson [Sloan’s assistant] never quit anything. So it had to be a lot worse than what anybody is saying,” Malone said on NBATV’s Game Time on Friday.
“I know this guy. This guy wouldn’t quit anything,” Malone added. “He’s challenged me in the huddle before. He said, ‘I’ll fight you as long as I could see you.’ That’s Coach Sloan, and that’s his attitude.”
Malone is a loyal guy to the core, so it is no surprise that he’s got his longtime mentor’s back. Malone and Sloan may have had their differences over the years, but it never went so far that it destroyed their friendship and trust in one another. “It don’t matter if we had Coach John Wooden; the players as a whole have to buy into the system,” Malone said. “That’s the whole issue here.”
The issue Malone is referring to is the reported rift between Sloan and All-Star guard Deron Williams. The situation boiled over earlier in the week when Sloan and Williams were involved in a heated confrontation which may (or not) have led to Sloan’s resignation.
Malone says he’d like to carry on Sloan’s tradition, but he has a young son who is playing football and he wants to spend time with him. However, if given an opportunity to become a head coach some day, Malone admitted it’s a challenge he’d love to test. “That’s definitely something I want to do. It’s something I feel strongly about and I’ll have some opportunities, I’m sure. I owe that to Coach Sloan because of what he taught me,” said Malone, who promises he won’t be bringing donuts and roses to practice.