Utah Jazz: Greg Miller opens up about job, family, Jazz, Ty Corbin and even Jerry Sloan
SANDY — People still might not know this guy like everyone knew his late father, but Greg Miller opened up like never before with Utah media outlets Tuesday afternoon from the 10th floor of the Jordan Commons Office Tower.
In a rare and wide-ranging media interview, the Utah Jazz CEO shared stories about his job and personal life, gave details about the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies' unprecedented growth while under his supervision and, of course, talked about his favorite NBA team.
For 2 1/2 hours, the media roundtable was an interesting peek behind a curtain that's usually pulled shut.
That included Miller — often reserved and distant, unlike his emotional and vocal father Larry — sharing his version of what happened on the night Jerry Sloan shockingly decided to resign during the middle of the 2010-11 season.
"You want Larry," he said, smiling, "you're going to get him."
No tears were shed.
But for a change, some light was.
Miller's conversation bounced around the globe — from the 43 states in which his companies have businesses to the fact that by the end of this year he'll have visited all seven continents, including a unique driving expedition across Siberia.
The chat session spanned 47 years, including Miller talking about living in Denver, where his dad's legacy began in an auto parts shop in the 1970s, to how he was excited to celebrate his granddaughter's 3rd birthday at a barbecue Tuesday night.
It also included him giving Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin a public vote of confidence while acknowledging that the bench boss needs to improve.
"I think Ty feels the support," Miller said. "It may be wrong, but my perception is that it's common knowledge that I'm a firm supporter of Ty."
Enough to extend the contract of Corbin, who's now the NBA's eighth-longest-tenured coach despite only being on the job since February 2011?
"It's a delicate balance. We all want Ty to know that we support him," said Miller, who admitted the coach needs to improve his team's defense. "We're glad he's our coach, but we also don't want him to be too comfortable."
The funniest part came when Miller related a conversation he had with NBA Commissioner David Stern in a buffet line during league meetings a few years ago. After replacing his dad on the NBA Board of Governors, Utah's representative was trying to establish himself on a league level and volunteer for committees.
The chat ended with the commissioner bluntly telling the eager, young team executive, "You're just a pissant."
Miller laughs about it now and described having a "great relationship" with Stern and commissioner-to-be Adam Silver (both of whom are pro small-market, he added).
The juiciest part came at the end when Miller was asked about Sloan, who was hired as a senior basketball adviser last week.
"I should tell you guys the story," he said.
None of the media roundtable invitees talked him out of it.
The beginning of the end for Sloan and his 23-year tenure as the Jazz's head coach, Miller explained, began with the last play of the first half in Utah's home game against the Chicago Bulls on Feb. 9, 2011. And, yes, it revolved around an increasingly contemptuous relationship All-Star point guard Deron Williams had with the Hall of Fame coach.
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