Utah Jazz fans are well-acquainted with the fact that Deron Williams and Hall-of-Fame coach Jerry Sloan didn’t exactly get along. Now a decade after Sloan’s retirement, his former point guard spoke out on the beef that simmered between the two.
On the most recent episode of the All The Smoke podcast hosted by Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, the Jazz star opened up about the rift that existed between him and Sloan.
Transcription via Talkbasket:
“Our relationship was definitely strained at the end,” admitted the Jazz star. “I think I held onto that rookie year, not starting — how he didn’t really play me, and would play me a couple of minutes here. I think I took that personally for a while when I was younger and kind of held that grudge. So, I think that affected me a little bit.”
There were rumblings that it was this unending tension with Deron Williams that ultimately pushed Sloan into retirement early. Now years removed from his best playing days, Williams is able to look back at the events from a renewed perspective, calling himself out for his own transgressions.
“I was definitely a little s*** at times — a little prima donna. I also, I knew how coach Sloan was, and I think I kind of would poke the bear just to see his reactions, too. It was kind of like a little back and forth thing; s*** that I definitely wouldn’t do now, knowing what I know now. But I always respected coach Sloan; I learned a lot from him. My best years were definitely in Utah. I got a lot of love and respect for him as a coach and as a person.”
Those late aughts Jazz teams with Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer always seemed to be just on the cusp of contention. Perhaps if player and coach were on the same page back then, things would’ve ended much differently.