Retired point guard and former Utah Jazz star Deron Williams issued a statement Friday on Instagram following the news of the death of his former head coach, Jerry Sloan.
"Very sad to hear about the passing of coach Sloan this (morning)," Williams said in his caption. "I'm praying for Tammy and their family during this time. I know things didn't end well between us in Utah, however I'm glad that I got the chance to sit down with him before it was too late. Definitely something that would have haunted me for the rest of my life.
"Blessed that I got to play for him and learn so much from him during my 5 1/2 years in Utah. You knew he always had your back when you stepped out on that court."
Williams was drafted third overall by the Jazz in 2005 and was twice named an All-Star with the franchise. However, he had an infamous falling out with Sloan during a game in February 2011 which contributed to the late head coach resigning from his role midseason. Approximately two weeks after Sloan suddenly stepped away, Williams was traded to the New Jersey Nets.
In September 2018, Williams revealed to Aaron Falk of UtahJazz.com that he and Sloan, who had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia two years prior, had cleared the air earlier that summer in a meeting in Sloan's home office.
"It's something I've wanted to do for years," Williams told Falk. "Just kind of stubbornness and nerves and all that played a part in why I never reached out."
Following his time in Utah, Williams played five seasons with the Nets, moving with the franchise to Brooklyn in 2012. He was bought out of his contract in 2014 and signed with the Dallas Mavericks ahead of the 2015-16 season. He then finished out his career with a 24-game stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017.