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Jerry Sloan once scolded his players for mocking Chris Andersen’s tattoos

Chris Andersen

Miami Heat’s Chris Andersen is interviewed during NBA basketball practice, Wednesday, June 5, 2013 in Miami. The Heat play the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of the NBA Finals Thursday. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)


One fun part of the NBA Finals is how the beat writers of teams that are finished with their seasons handle it, especially if their team isn’t in a coaching search and doesn’t have a high draft pick. Left to fill space in their newspapers other ways, they often tell some interesting stories. Like this one about Jerry Sloan and Chris Andersen. Brad Rock of the Deseret News:

The Nuggets beat the Jazz by 14 that night. Andersen went 5-for-7 shooting, snagging seven rebounds and blocking three shots.

Sometime during the game, Jazz players had begun mocking Andersen’s body art, which didn’t yet include his famous “Freebird” collar. Upset with his team’s intensity, Jerry Sloan raged along the bench, where he overheard his players’ wisecracks.

“I wish ONE of you guys played as hard as him!” Sloan shouted.

If Sloan ever wants to return to the NBA, he will certainly face questions about where he falls on the thin line between old school and out-of-touch. He should answer with this anecdote. Not caring about someone else’s tattoos would diminish concerns about him being out of touch, and wanting his team to play hard is pure old school.