SALT LAKE CITY — Jerry Sloan has a proven solution that helps him to not crack under the pressures that can accompany a basketball career.
It helped during his 11 years as a player. And it's kept him loving his job for 22 years as the Utah Jazz's head coach.
His secret to success at minimizing stress?
"I don't take it home with me," Sloan said at Tuesday's practice. "That's one thing I learned a long time ago, is when I played I didn't take it home because it drives you crazy, and I've seen a lot of people do that."
Sloan relishes his hoops gig but is cognizant there are more important things in life. Reminiscent of his Basketball Hall of Fame acceptance speech last year, the coach said he's learned that valuable lesson from hard life experiences. He recanted two painful examples: his late wife Bobbye's battle with cancer, and the plane crash that killed everybody traveling with the Evansville basketball team in 1977, months after he resigned from his coaching position there.
Having outside hobbies have helped keep him balanced, Sloan said. Dick Motta helped him learn that lesson when an obsessed Sloan would show up to the arena three hours before tipoff.
His old Bulls' coach's advice: " 'You need to get a hobby. You need to get something out of basketball,' because I'd be at the arena, (and) it's 4 o'clock in the afternoon. I couldn't hardly wait until the game started, and I was worn out a lot of the time before the game ever started."
Sloan heeded the advice and took up a hobby of being what he described as a "junk dealer." He also took up farming, which he calls "one of the biggest releases I have."
Along with non-hoops hobbies, even just watching others toil on the farm has helped his basketball career.
"To see people work like they have to there every day kind of teaches you that what we're doing is really not that important," Sloan said. "We think it is: It's the end of the world. But it's just a game. As much as we all love to be a part of it, that's what it boils down to when the day's over."
Sloan tries to not get worked up by others' opinions of him. He only asks that people be fair.
Added the coach: "As long as they don't cut my arms and legs off, jump on my back or something like that, I'm fine."
OLD PUP: C.J. Miles got the medical OK to practice with his improving sprained left wrist. He also got a chuckle when told what Sloan had compared himself to while humorously describing his coaching patience.
"He called himself a puppy?" Miles said, grinning. "I don't know any puppies his age."
Miles agreed, however, that Sloan is patient.
"I'm a living example ... still parading through here, for him to be patient," Miles said. "Because there could've been plenty of times they could have got me out of there in the beginning, so I'm grateful."
The swingman admitted he's often been chided by Sloan the past five years, including last weekend, but it's for his own good.
"Me and him have a good relationship. People might think different of it just because he gets on me a lot," Miles said. "But, I mean, he does it for a reason. He believes in me and I appreciate that."
You might call it puppy love.
LOOKING AHEAD: Deron Williams on whether he's excited to begin exhibition play Thursday: "I'm ready to get the real season under way. I don't like the preseason."
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