RIVERTON, Utah, April 6, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Former Utah Jazz and Chicago Bulls coach Jerry Sloan revealed on Wednesday that he is suffering from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia.
“I don’t want people feeling sorry for me,” Sloan said in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune. Sloan, a Riverton resident, said he was diagnosed last fall, and he still walks four miles a day.
Parkinson’s disease causes a loss of control over body movements. Lewy body dementia causes a decline in mental abilities.
Steve Starks, president of the Utah Jazz and the Larry H. Miller Entertainment Group, acknowledged Sloan’s illness in a statement posted n social media.
“Now that coach Sloan has shared the news on his health, I will join the many others in expressing support,” Starks wrote. “Simply put, a living legend!”
Sloan, who turned 74 last week, coached the Utah Jazz from 1988 to 2011, and was the NBA coach with the third most wins. Sloan built his team around star players such as Karl Malone and John Stockton.
Before that, Sloan served as assistant coach, then coach to the Chicago Bulls, from 1976 to 1982. Sloan played for the Bulls from 1966 to 1976.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement, according to a description from The Mayo Clinic. It develops gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. But while a tremor may be the most well-known sign of Parkinson’s disease, the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement.
Lewy body dementia, according to information from The Mayo Clinic, is the second most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s disease, causes a progressive decline in mental abilities.
It may also cause visual hallucinations, which generally take the form of objects, people or animals that aren’t there. This can lead to unusual behavior such as having conversations with deceased loved ones.
Another indicator of Lewy body dementia may be significant fluctuations in alertness and attention, which may include daytime drowsiness or periods of staring into space. And, like Parkinson’s disease, Lewy body dementia can result in rigid muscles, slowed movement and tremors.