Hours before the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Utah Jazz 102-93 on Monday night at the Vivint Smart Home Arena, the visitors from North Texas were able to receive some inspirational news.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle and point guard Deron Williams were talked with former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan. Last week, Sloan announced that he’s suffering from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia.
During his postgame interview Monday after his team clinched a playoff berth, Carlisle was discussing how the Mavericks played their game when he suddenly switched the conversation to Sloan.
"The other thing that was an inspirational thing that happened before the game was I sent text messages to coach Sloan today and he showed up before the game,’’ Carlisle said. "He said hello to me and Deron Williams and that was pretty inspirational because he’s doing well.’’
Williams played for Sloan from 2005 until Sloan retired in 2011 admits reports that the two didn’t get along.
"I heard the news about his health, and it’s definitely sad,’’ Williams said. "I got a chance to spend a couple of minutes with him before (the game) and he looked great, he sounded great, sounded like he was upbeat about the situation.
"I told him there’s not a tougher man I know. So if anybody can battle through stuff, it’s him.
Sloan, 74, was the Jazz coach from 1988-’11 and is the third-winningest coach in NBA history. He also was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, and received a huge ovation when he was shown on the Jumbotron while sitting in the stands during Monday’s game.
"It’s great to see him at the Jazz games,’’ Carlisle said. "That is a living legend and I couldn’t have been more fired up to see him.
"I know that doesn’t have anything to do with the game. But it’s a personal thing.’’