Growing Up an NBA Kid – an Interview with Jerry Sloan’s Daughter Holly

I met Holly Sloan because we are both active in Chicago theatre. Our friendship went to the next level when she noticed that I comment a lot on professional basketball in social media. (For those who don’t know, I am about as dedicated of a Chicago Bulls fan as they come).

“What are the chances that one of my theatre friends would be such a huge basketball fan?” Holly quipped.

Although she never kept it a secret, it was awhile before I learned that Holly’s father was the late NBA great Jerry Sloan. To me, she was just a cool friend who I could trade basketball stories with.


Because of the surprising popularity of my radio show/podcast It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee since moving to cover a more broad spectrum of topics, I have certain liberties in scheduling guests. As such, I thought a wonderfully interesting show would be to find out from Holly what it was like growing up an NBA kid – not just what her dad was like, but what it was like for her being his daughter.

On the Friday, January 20 episode of It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee I proudly bring that interview to you. In fact, it is one of the best episodes I think we’ve ever done.

I hope you will tune in. If you are in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago you can catch the show on Friday on  101.5 FM at 3 PM Central but you can also stream the show from anywhere in the world at: (either live as the show airs or as a podcast on your own schedule).


Jerry Sloan is known throughout basketball lore as “The Original Chicago Bull.” After one year with the Baltimore Bullets as the number four pick in the 1965 NBA draft, Sloan was selected in the expansion draft by the newly formed Chicago Bulls. He went on to an incredible career as a player and coach. His number was the first ever retired by the team.

I have an uncle who I am very close with. He is very much the only father I know, and one of the things we share a passion for is the Chicago Bulls.

When I told my uncle that I would be interviewing Holly, he confided that Jerry Sloan was one of his idols when he was a young man. What made him standout so admirably to my uncle was what a hardnose player he was – particularly on defense.


Indeed, Jerry Sloan was a six-time member of the NBA All Defensive Team, in addition to being a two-time All-Star. But what I think will fascinate listeners who tune in to my interview with Holly is what that hardnosed player attitude translated to at home.

Holly’s father was one of ten children that his mother had to raise alone after the death of her husband when Jerry was four. They were farmers, which is where Jerry learned his work ethic. He even continued to farm after making it to the NBA.

Holly was the only member of her family to be involved in theatre. It was not a world that her father could easily understand. But that created a unique bond for the two, such as when this NBA legend whose interests were basketball and John Deere tractors made the trip to see Holly’s first play….and in that play she portrayed a female basketball player.


It’s stories like this that give a human light to a man that many have admired from afar. But there are also funny revelations in our interview, like which flamboyant, fur coat-wearing NBA All-Star was Holly’s go-to babysitter growing up. (You will love this story)

I always hope that you will tune in to each new episode of It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee, and that if you like what you hear you recommend it to your friends.  This episode in particular is one I hope you’ll listen too and share. It will really touch your heart.

In this week’s episode, there’s a little something for everyone. There’s NBA stories relating to Jerry’s time with the Chicago Bulls as a player and the Utah Jazz as a coach. There are theater stories, reflecting Holly’s other passion in life. And, most importantly, there is the human element of a daughter talking lovingly about her father.

Please make plans to listen to It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee this week. You won’t be disappointed. Holly Sloan is a wonderful guest and you’ll be captivated by our interview on 101.5 FM and streaming at

If you enjoy this little deviation from our normal content to include the NBA, please let me know. I’d love to feature more sports stories if they’d be of interest.  

Peace. Love. Trust.

Rikki Lee Travolta


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