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Friday, September 7, 2007

Phil Jackson In The Hall Of Fame

After nine NBA championships as a coach, tied for the most with Red Auerbach, Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson has made it to the Hall of Fame. Jackson gives plenty of credit to Red Holzman, his former coach back when he played with the New York Knicks. Jackson said that Holzman took him "under his wing, he didn't have an assistant coach, he made me his assistant coach and taught the game to me and taught me a lot about the game and encouraged me to go into coaching."

"He always believed in what was called the middle path," said Jackson of Holzman. "I appreciated that, his ability to handle players, particularly a team that was full of college players of the year. Cazzie Russell and Bill Bradley were both competing for the same job, but the ability for both of them to play as a team directly reflected [Holzman's] ability to handle people and make them play as a group. That ability to handle people probably was the trademark that I learned more than anything else. He treated the superstars and role players very much in the same manner."

About Jackson's success: "It's been like a comet," said Jackson. "The success of the teams I've coached has been just phenomenal. I've heard people say that I've been the luckiest coach that's ever been in the NBA and I would probably have to agree with them. I've been in the right spot at the right time."

Jackson even joked about Auerbach, saying, "We lost out on the Kevin Garnett sweepstakes. Red Auerbach came out of the grave and told Kevin to give him to the Celtics so the Celtics can get back in the running. That was a blessing, that connection. We just didn't have the connection to make that happen for us."

Despite all of the positive talk from Jackson about going into the Hall of Fame, he did bring up the possibility of this being his last season coaching. "This could well be my last year of coaching. I'm not saying it is, but it could be. I think I have an outstanding offer to sign up again, but I have held that back because of my recovery. Then there's the basis of how well the team does. If this team doesn't move forward quickly, and that's, I think, the second round of the playoffs, then I think we have to reconsider."

From ESPN, an article about Jackson's road to the Hall of Fame, and a timeline of his career.

Congratulations to Phil Jackson for making the Hall of Fame, and hopefully we will still see Phil coaching the Lakers for plenty more seasons after this one!