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News » Jazz coach remembers Abe Pollin

Jazz coach remembers Abe Pollin

Jazz coach remembers Abe Pollin NBA commissioner David Stern once told's Bill Simmons his three favorite franchise owners were Detroit's Bill Davidson, Washington's Abe Pollin and Utah's Larry H. Miller. With Tuesday's passing of Pollin at age 85, all three are gone now. The longtime Wizards owner was one of three owners of the then-Baltimore Bullets in 1965, the year Jazz coach Jerry Sloan broke into the league as a rookie. Sloan left one year later for Chicago via the NBA Expansion Draft, and the two rarely crossed paths over the next 40-some years.

But happenstance had Pollin rolling down a Verizon Center hallway in his wheelchair and past Sloan when the Jazz were in Washington last November, and the two shared some words then. The Wizards owner told Sloan he regretted letting him get away in '66. "His health wasn't great, but he was very cordial," Sloan recalled Tuesday. "I don't live on that kind of stuff, but it was a nice gesture on his part. More importantly, it was kind of like saying goodbye." Pollin told Sloan about the rare degenerative brain disease he was battling, and vowed he'd get better. "I know. You're a tough guy," Sloan told him. Responded Pollin, without missing a beat: "Not as tough as you." Recollection of the chance hallway meeting prompted Sloan to reminisce Tuesday about his rookie season with the Bullets, from having to carry the team's 24-second clock to an early season stretch in which he fouled out of about a half-dozen consecutive games. "I wasn't wild," Sloan said when it was suggested he was back then. "I was crazy. There's a difference." WAITING, WONDERING: Sloan continues to ponder what it will be like when his injured players ? namely C.J. Miles (thumb surgery), Kyle Korver (knee surgery) and Ronnie Price (toe sprain) ? return to the lineup sometime in the next few weeks. "Hopefully the guys who have been out will give us the lift we need to try to be a better team," he said. "My biggest concern getting everybody back is how we satisfy guys that haven't played and guys that have played," Sloan added when asked before Tuesday night's game against Oklahoma City. "You never make everybody happy, so I don't know how that will work out. "Hopefully they come and be ready to get on the floor, and when they get on the floor do their job. That's all I know." Miles and Korver both have missed the first 14 games of the season, and Price has missed seven straight. "You'd like to have everybody happy and have them play well when you step out there, and if they're not then you have somebody else to go to," Sloan said. "Right now, this is kind of who we are when you're in a tough situation." MILES UPDATE: Miles said Tuesday he has a new splint for his surgically repaired thumb, and he hopes to take part in his first practice sometime next week. "I've been doing a lot," he said, "so hopefully it shouldn't take me but a couple of practices before I feel like I can play again." KORVER QUIP: Korver worked his surgically repaired knee hard in a workout session Monday. "I tried to push it a little bit and it was really sore," he said, "but it (felt better Tuesday)." Korver still can't pinpoint when he'll return. "I want to be aggressive," he said, "but I don't want to be stupid, you know. "I want to come back soon as soon as possible," Korver added. "I'm running out of sportcoats to wear to the games now." OKUR BACK: Jazz center Mehmet Okur returned Tuesday, so replacement-starter Kyrylo Fesenko was back to the bench. Okur, who missed three straight games due to a stomach virus, was jokingly asked about Utah's 4-0 record when Fesenko starts. "That sounds good," he laughed, adding seriously, "He stepped up and did a good job." e-mail:

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Added: November 26, 2009


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