Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan battling Parkinson's disease, Lewy body dementia

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan, the third-winningest coach in NBA history, has Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, he revealed Wednesday to the The Salt Lake Tribune.

Sloan, who still lives in Utah with his wife, Tammy, said he was diagnosed last fall but was going public now because his symptoms, including tremors and a hushed voice, have become more noticeable.

"I don't want people feeling sorry for me," Sloan, 74, told The Tribune, adding that he still walks 4 miles a day.

Parkinson's, the same disease that has afflicted boxing great Muhammad Ali and actor Michael J. Fox, is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects both speech and movements and worsens over time. There is no known cure, but symptoms can be controlled by medication.

Lewy body dementia mirrors some of the symptoms of Parkinson's but also causes a progressive decline in mental abilities.

Sloan finished his coaching career with 1,221 victories, behind only Don Nelson and Lenny Wilkens. He coached 26 seasons, all with the Utah Jazz other than three seasons leading the Chicago Bulls from 1979-82.

The Jazz, whom Sloan last coached in 2010-11, won Western Conference titles under his coaching in 1997 and '98 but lost to the Bulls in the Finals each time.

Sloan had a 10-year career as a shooting guard and small forward, debuting in 1965-66 with the Baltimore Bullets before spending the rest of his time with the Bulls.

He averaged 14.0 points a game, with a career-best of 18.3 with the Bulls in 1970-71. He was a two-time All-Star and was four times named to the first NBA All-Defensive Team.