Phil Jackson is everywhere. NPR. Daily Show. Promoting his new book.
The nasty late-night phone call he got last Nov. 11 from the Lakers comes up in a lot of his interviews. He thought he had till that Monday to decide to take the head coaching job or not, then they called Sunday night at midnight. Woke him up. Said they were hiring Mike D’Antoni. You can tell it made him mad.
“It was humorous to me when Mitch said that we think that Mike is a better coach for this group of guys,” Jackson said yesterday. (Mitch Kupchak is the Lakers’ general manager.)
Phil Jackson would have come back and coached this loaded team if they’d asked him. Instead he got a weird snub from the Lakers (or maybe it was a burn), and decided “Fine. I don’t feel like having to ride in an airplane all the time anyway.” He’s 6-foot-8, 67 years old. He played hard through his youth, so there’s a lot of wear and tear on that body. He moves slowly.
Jackson’s book is called “Eleven Rings.” As coach with the Bulls and Lakers he won 11 titles, success with no equal in modern pro sports. Without him this season the Lakers were terrible, despite all their all-stars, including brand-new high-priced superstar center Dwight Howard. They added the best banging, bull-powerful low post player in the NBA, then hired D’Antoni, a coach who’s all about fast-breaking and hates using players like that.
That’s Jackson’s specialty, morons. Think about it. Eleven rings. First he had Jordan and Pippen, who took care of the outside themselves. Kobe Bryant, same thing. Backcourt’s covered. Jackson used his at-peace Zen-nerd-philosopher-gym rat-genius mind to study and master coaching big men. When he got his hands on Shaquille O’Neal, he helped the Diesel become an unguardable mutant MVP/champion.
Coaching Kobe is stupid. Coach the bigs. The Lakers would be in the Western Conference Finals if they’d hired Phil Jackson. Remember also that the NBA inexplicably negated a trade that would have given top point guard Chris Paul to Los Angeles to play alongside Kobe. Those two together would not have needed any coaching.
We would have finally had an epic LeBron-Kobe finals battle.
So Jackson launches this book tour, and everyone likes how interesting he is so he does a lot of interviews. He hits the Lakers organization with these little disses after their expensive failure of a season, just as playoff NBA games are getting really good, with the finals around the corner. His Playboy-model fiance (always gotta mention she was in Playboy, because it’s awesome) is the sister of the Lakers executive vice president and part-owner, who surely had a hand in the decision not to bring back Jackson this season.
Basically, he’s fine without them while they’re missing him terribly. And he’s always around. It’s a good place to be, which is typical for the Zenmaster. Eleven rings, and awesome at life. Screw the Lakers.