Malone, Miller And The War Of Words

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Hall of Famer Karl Malone is still making headlines in Utah, but for all the wrong reasons these days. The Jazz legend is in the middle of a fierce war of words with current Jazz owner Greg Miller, son of the late Larry Miller, over the handling of Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan‘s departure as coach last season.

Last week Malone blasted the organization for not supporting Sloan and allowing then Jazz star Deron Williams to essentially force Sloan out as coach, while also telling the The Salt Lake Tribune that he had to buy a ticket from a scalper to get into a recent game.

Miller fired back in a blog post and on radio calling Malone a “liar” and high-maintenance.”

Sloan cleared the air a bit this afternoon in a statement:

“I would like to set the record straight regarding my retirement from the Utah Jazz. I had the unwavering support of the Miller family during my 23 seasons as head coach and I left on my own volition. It is not true that the Millers undermined my authority as head coach. I had their complete backing to run the team as I wished and was assured that no player could ever overrule my decisions.

“The Millers encouraged me to stay with the team and gave me multiple opportunities to do so. They felt strongly that I should wait at least until the end of the season to resign and did everything they could to keep me coaching.”

Malone didn’t back down, though, speaking to Salt Lake Tribune again this afternoon in an attempt to make his feelings clear on his initial statements and the reaction from Miller. “I expressed what I feel and I don’t regret what I said,” Malone said. “It’s what I believe about Coach Sloan.”

He wasn’t nearly as diplomatic in speaking to The Tribune‘s Jazz beat writer, Brian T. Smith, who had a series of Tweets with comments from Malone regarding Miller’s assertions in the blog post:

We’ve all become very brave when we’re tweeting, texting, blogging. We just write, press send. I don’t have time for that.

“Don’t tweet it, don’t blog it, don’t text it, give me a little human element. … I’m in town two or three times ..

… times a month. Until I see [Miller] face to face, there won’t be any more comment about Greg Miller. … He’ll see me again.”

This seems like a completely unnecessary affair for a franchise, and a Jazz team, that have clearly moved on from the entire situation. Williams is long gone, as is Sloan.

Whatever lingering issues Malone and Miller have with each other, they need to handle behind closed doors. They certainly don’t need to burden Ty Corbin and his players with this mess, not with the 12-9 Jazz trying to stay in the thick of the Western Conference playoff chase right now.


  1. dbl06 says:

    I’ll take Sloan at his word. Sometimes there are nuances to public statements. I won’t say that Jery was forced out, but he may have gotten the feeling he wasn’t backed 100% either. I felt the same way Karl expressed himself about Jerry’s abrupt departure. It wasn’t characteristic of the Jerry Sloan I had observed over the years. I thought Larry Miller was a little bit of a kook. Greg may be something of a dud. It definitely wasn’t very smart to call Malone a liar. After a rough start Ty Corbin seems to have things going in the right direction. The question remains: will he go the way of most NBA coaches or will he retire in Utah?

  2. prix says:

    Great respect from Sloan and Malone…but always remember that NBA is not just a sport it is a business…basketball is a sport…Businessman is always half hearted…like Miller half of his heart is money and half of it is dignity to the game and the players…

  3. Sekou… check out my preview of tonight’s Hawks-76ers re-match at Hoopinion:

    Larry Drew threw his players under the bus after the loss at Philly, but guess who gets thrown under the bus in this column! 😉