Phil Jackson Changes The Face Of The NBA, Again

On March 17, 2014, in Sporting News, by Bud Thornton

NBAWhen Phil Jackson went to coach the Chicago Bulls, he changed the face of basketball.  No other team in living memory created such excitement and fan loyalty as did the Bulls under Jackson featuring the great Michael Jordan.

During Jacksons 9 years with the Bulls organization, Chicago won the NBA Championship an incredible 6 times. Fans in Chicago still long for a return of those title winning days.

Then Phil Jackson went out to Los Angeles to take over the coaching of the Lakers under legendary owner Jerry Buss. From 1999 through 2011 except for the 2004 season Jackson led the Lakers team which featured Kobe Bryant to an additional 5 NBA Championships which placed Phil Jackson in the ‘Top 10 Coaches in NBA History’.

With the demise of Jerry Buss in early 2013 and the subsequent battle for power in the Lakers front office between son Jim and daughter Jeanie, Phil Jackson left the Lakers and went into semi-retirement with his fiancé Jeanie Buss. Although speculation abounded that Jackson would end up back on the Lakers staff in some capacity, it never materialized.

So now the owner of the New York Knicks, James Dolan, has hired Jackson to take over the front offices of the Knicks and run the organization which has fallen into a state of disrepair this past season posting a dismal record of 27 wins and 40 losses at this point in the season and having no real hope at all of making the NBA playoffs this year.

But Dolan has a reputation of never really handing over complete control of the Kicks to anyone before so critics are playing wait and see with Phil Jackson. Dolan has never had anyone of Jackson’s stature running the show before either.

Dolan announced Jackson’s hiring like this, “So today is an historic day for the Knicks as we announce that Phil Jackson has been named our team president.”

This is someone who knows about winning, about the importance of a clear vision and culture that ensures the team wins. Like his team did back when he played for the Knicks.”

Jackson was actually drafted by the Knicks in the 2nd round of the 1967 NBA Draft.  He stayed with the Knicks up until 1978 and collected his first two NBA Championship rings in the process.  Phil Jackson now has 13 Championship rings.

Look for changes in New York basketball next year. Look for the Knicks to be better than before. When Phil Jackson is in charge, winning is expected.

 

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