The New York Knicks fired head coach Derek Fisher on Tuesday, and the man who replaced him in the short-term won’t do much to change their fortunes in the long run. Phil Jackson, who coached the Lakers from 1996 to 1999 and the Knicks from 1999 to 2000, is now the president of the New York Knicks, and he’s going to be making a lot of money off the Knicks and the Lakers over the next few years. Although it’s not clear exactly how much Jackson will be getting paid, it’s safe to say that he’ll be making more money off the Knicks than the Lakers over the next few years.
Every year, the best basketball players in the world are chosen to be in the All-Star game. These players have the great fortune of playing with some of the best players in the world; they become the faces of their teams and may even play with the best player in the world; the one and only Michael Jordan. But, these players also have one thing in common, they all played for the same team, the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls was a team that was filled with the best players in the NBA, and players who were not only outstanding on the court but also had personal lives off the court to match.
One of the most successful figures in NBA history is Phil Jackson. He is known not only as a valuable coach with the most NBA championships in history, but also as a player who won championships as a role player. For his incredible basketball skills and personal talents, Phil Jackson is a top performer. If you look at his career from start to finish, it’s clear that he is one of the most successful sports figures in North American history.
Phil Jackson has coached some of the greatest players of all time, including Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, and has three triple overtime victories to his credit as a leader of these players. Phil Jackson was not a star as a player, but his intangibles and basketball savvy were essential when he had to come off the bench.
It’s time to take a look at the entire career of Phil Jackson, the man behind the NBA dominance of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
Phil Jackson as a player – 2championships
As previously stated, Phil Jackson was not a star player. Jackson spent 12 years in the NBA and averaged 6.7 PPG and 4.3 RPG in 17.6 MPG during his career. As a 6’8 power forward, he has the size and quality at his position to add to the team. Jackson was drafted by the New York Knicks in 1967 (#17) and spent the first ten years of his career there. He won two NBA championships with the Knicks and even made the All-Rookie team in his first season.
His best seasons as a player came in 1974 and 1975, averaging 11.1 and 10.8 PPG, respectively. No one expected this kind of performance from Phil Jackson, who played more than 27 minutes per game in those two seasons. In terms of overall skill level, Jackson knew his role and played with heart and passion on both sides. Clearly, he was destined for the head coach job simply because he knew the game, even if he lacked athletic ability beyond his size.
Chicago Bulls coach – 6 championships
When people think of the Chicago Bulls, they immediately think of Michael Jordan. After all, GOAT has won 6 NBA championships with the franchise, including 6 Finals MVP titles. It was Michael Jordan who made the Chicago Bulls popular, and he will forever be known as perhaps the most dominant athlete in the history of team sports. But the man who pulled the strings of the Bulls dynasty was Phil Jackson, the greatest coach of all time.
Jackson, who was known as a Zen master, knew how to push the buttons of every player on the Bulls team to keep them focused and hungry for a title each season. Even an enigma like Dennis Rodman was under the control of Phil Jackson, who knew when to hold players back, when to make them work, and when to give them freedom. Even if Michael Jordan’s talent had been enough to make him NBA champion, he might not have reached his inhuman level of greatness without Phil Jackson. It’s not easy to keep a team aiming for 6 NBA titles together, but Phil Jackson has managed to keep everyone together and make the Bulls a dominant force on both ends of the court. Phil Jackson also knew his place, which is why he called the Bulls’ last championship the Last Dance.
Jackson won all six of his championships with the Bulls in two separate three-point victories, which is so unusual it will likely never happen again. With 6 titles to his name, Phil Jackson has left his mark on the history of the Los Angeles Lakers team.
Los Angeles Lakers coach – 5 championships
When people think of the Lakers, they immediately think of Kobe Bryant. Black Mamba won 5 championships with the Lakers and is one of the most talented players in the history of the game. Ironically, he was also a student of Michael Jordan and is the closest thing to the Bulls legend in terms of playing style and skill. Phil Jackson got the chance to coach the great Kobe Bryant alongside the most dominant modern force in NBA history, Shaquille O’Neal.
With Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant on the team, Phil Jackson led the Lakers to their third three-game championship as a coach. The Lakers were unstoppable with a combination of inside and outside scoring, and their defense was bolstered by Jackson’s philosophy. No team came close to the Lakers in the early 2000s, and the Zen master deserves credit for keeping the egos of O’Neal and Bryant in check for so long.
As with most great players, O’Neal and Bryant no longer want to play together, and Jackson is forced to create an opponent with only Kobe Bryant. It took a few years, but Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant managed to win two more championships in 2009 and 2010, when Pau Gasol joined the team. That gives Phil Jackson a total of 11 NBA titles as a head coach, not counting the two championships he won as a player.
The closest person to Phil Jackson is Red Auerbach, but he couldn’t match Jackson’s success as an NBA champion. Auerbach won nine NBA titles, including eight in a row with Bill Russell’s Celtics, Jackson got to coach Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant and won 11 rings. Jackson has had the luxury and privilege of coaching the best players of all time, but his ability to get his players to react and make critical adjustments in the game is why he is the greatest coach of all time, and that is no small feat.
Credit for the idea: kingarnanda
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