Utah coach Jerry Sloan is decidedly old school. Not like Run DMC is old school, I mean more like Sinatra old school
Tough minded. Loyal. Movement off the ball not just isolation plays. No free layups. All of that in a good way. But that means sometimes he doesn’t mix as well with the new fangled things in the world. Like I feel pretty safe he is not going to log on and read this.
The Miami Heat’s moves this summer — call them the “super friends” or the “big three” or “three’s company,” I’ve stopped trying to figure it out — are decidedly new school. So when the Salt Lake Tribune asked about it and if Sloan in his playing days as a Bull would have done something like this, he gave an honest and straight forward answer.
“The way I was brought up and the way I played, that’s kind of what I thought. You stick together even though things aren’t good. That’s kind of like life: We don’t always get what we want, and you have to stick to it. Those are great lessons. Although, there’s so much money involved now I guess you have to go for the money. I never wanted to be traded when I was in Chicago. I never wanted to be fired when I was in Chicago. [Laughs] Those things happen. I’ve always been taught to stick it out when things are tough and that sort of thing. But I don’t know who’s right and wrong. You can argue that until the cows come home…
“I’m not sure a lot of those [old] guys would have done that. I think everybody kind of had their area to work in and felt comfortable trying to prove they could win where they were. And Jerry West, he never made a championship trophy for a long time. They added a couple of more guys, Wilt, a couple more guys to their team that made them very good. But I don’t think I would have seen him wonder, say ‘Do I have to go play with another team?’
“I think it’s an individual thing. You’re usually talking about guys that are pretty competitive, whoever they are, whoever it would be. Jabbar he left and went to L.A., whenever he was playing up in Milwaukee. I don’t know how it actually all works out. It’s hard to say what guys have got inside them.”
To me Sloan hits on the two key things. First, people are different and make different decisions and isn’t that supposed to be one of the reasons we all love America?
Second, the money changes everything. The free agency rules changed everything. LeBron’s choices were contextually different than what Magic or Bird or Jordan or West or Russell or any of them faced. That doesn’t make his decision the right one, it makes it different. And to say what you would or would not have done is to inject the context of your bygone era on LeBron and his choices.