Sixers forward Donyell Marshall, now in his 15th NBA season, had some nice things to say recently about Jerry Sloan, for whom he played from 2000-02:
"He taught me how to play. He taught me how to approach the game, how to eat and sleep; they were my best years, probably with my best numbers all-around. He challenges you; he helps to bring out your best. He taught me how to practice.
I've told our guys, Jerry doesn't double-team the ball. They asked me why, and I said he says: 'I like to see who's getting his butt kicked. When you double-team, one can blame the other. When you play straight up, you know right away.'
My first year there, I was coming from a team where you knew the superstars got treated a little better, and now I was playing with two who were basically in the Hall of Fame already [in Karl Malone and John Stockton].
My first month, we had a game where in the first 2, 3 minutes John and Karl weren't focused. Jerry called timeout, subbed them out, said, 'You're supposed to be our bleeping captains. If you can't come out and play right, sit your butts down until you can figure it out.'
The subs came in and played well. John and Karl came back in and played well, and I said to myself 'If he can do that to them, what can he do to me?' It makes the 15th man feel good to know they're not getting special treatment. And it makes everyone play harder."