Here’s the compliment the legendary Jerry Sloan once paid to the legendary Jerry West.

Upon hearing of Jerry West’s passing, one can’t help but remember the brilliance of one of the NBA’s greatest stars—a star whose legacy has remained undiminished for over half a century. Despite the many basketball luminaries who have emerged since West’s days of dominating the court, his story is intertwined with countless memorable moments, including one with a unique Utah connection.

Before diving into that, it’s essential to acknowledge what everyone knows: West was not only the embodiment of the NBA logo, a symbol that sustained the league during times when it desperately needed support before the influx of fans drawn by the players’ athleticism and competitiveness. He also evolved into a respected basketball executive with a keen eye for talent, assembling championship-winning teams.

Many will recount and celebrate these aspects of West’s legacy in the coming tributes. However, a particularly poignant tribute comes from another basketball legend, Jerry Sloan.

What makes Sloan’s tribute extraordinary is its source. Known for his terse, no-nonsense demeanor, Sloan’s compliments were rare and thus carried significant weight. Much like Yoda’s wisdom in Star Wars—”Do or do not, there is no try”—Sloan valued action over words. To him, talking about trying or future plans often signaled weakness and fear. Sloan, the tough, pragmatic dirt farmer from Southern Illinois, believed firmly in the principle of doing.