ADDS REMARKS OF FORMER JAZZ PLAYER MEHMET OKUR
By Can Erozden
ANKARA (AA) – A longtime Utah Jazz coach, Jerry Sloan died on Friday, the NBA franchise announced. He was 78.
"Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz. He will forever be a part of the Utah Jazz organization and we join his family, friends and fans in mourning his loss," the team said on its website.
A Chicago Bulls player from 1966 to 1976, Sloan served for the Jazz as coach for 23 seasons, from 1988 to 2011.
"We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise," the Western Conference franchise added.
Regarded as one of the legendary coaches, Sloan carried the Jazz to the NBA Playoffs for 19 out of the 23 seasons.
In 1978 the Bulls retired his no. 4 jersey, making Sloan the team’s first-ever player to receive that honor.
– NBA mourns
A former Jazz player from Turkey, Mehmet Okur said that he expressed his sorrow for death of his ex-coach Sloan.
"RIP coach Jerry Sloan. You taught me so much on and off the floor. I’m gonna miss you.. #legend," Okur, 40, said on his Twitter account.
Okur made his NBA debut in 2002 as a Detroit Pistons player.
He became the NBA champion with the Pistons in 2004. Okur is still the only Turkish player, who won the NBA title in history.
Okur has spent 10 seasons in the NBA to play for three franchises.
The former Turkish center/power forward played for the Jazz between 2004 and 2011. Okur appeared in 2007 NBA All-Star.
In his final season (2011-2012), Okur made his way to New Jersey Nets.
"The Original Bull. Rest in peace, Jerry Sloan," the Bulls said on Twitter, posting a photo of their former teammate.
In addition to the Bulls, the Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers also expressed their sadness at the loss.
Hidayet Turkoglu, head of the Turkish Basketball Federation (TBF) and a former NBA player, also offered condolences to the Jazz legend's family.
"RIP coach Sloan. Our condolences to Sloan family," Turkoglu tweeted.