Staff Writer: Ryan Ward
There have been a lot of great NBA head coaches throughout the history of the league like Red Auerbach of the Boston Celtics and Pat Riley of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat, but few coaches have been able to compare to the success of the Zen Master Phil Jackson.
Back in the early 90s, Phil Jackson made a name for himself by winning his first NBA title as the head coach the Chicago Bulls. At the time, the Chicago Bulls were by far the best team in the league as they had arguably the best player of all-time in Michael Jordan leading the way. That first NBA title, ironically coming against the Los Angeles Lakers, was just the beginning of his success during an unbelievable NBA head coaching career.
Once Phil Jackson got that first ring as an NBA head coach, nine others followed as he won five more NBA titles with Michael Jordan and company have been went to Los Angeles to revive the Lakers franchise which had Shaq in his prime and a young up-and-coming Kobe Bryant.
The stage was set for another run at some NBA titles as Los Angeles Lakers were arguably the most talented team in the
NBA and on the verge of becoming a title contender. It didn’t take long though as Phil Jackson was able to turn this team into another dominant triangle offense.
Needless to say, the Los Angeles Lakers have gone on to win four NBA titles with head coach Phil Jackson on the sidelines. Not since the days of Pat Riley have the Lakers seen so much success, but even though Phil is not getting any younger, he has still been able to keep this team as a title contender in the Western Conference on an annual basis.
Over the past couple of years or so, Phil Jackson has seriously been considering retiring from the game of basketball. As the years pass by it is becoming more and more obvious that his aging body cannot handle the rigorous travel that goes on throughout an 82 game season and the NBA playoffs.
As a result, Phil Jackson must have an oversized chair on the sidelines and seems noticeably in pain while just walking as he rarely gets up during an NBA game anymore to argue with the refs.
Obviously Phil Jackson is on the tail end of his head coaching career as he cannot keep this going while being in pain every single season, but with a talented team like he has right now, which is arguably the most talented in the NBA, Jackson has a chance of winning at least 2 to 3 more titles before calling it quits.
The biggest problem that Phil Jackson will have, besides problems with traveling, is that Lakers owner Jerry Buss seems no longer willing or able to pay him $10+ million a season to coach his team.
At this point in time, the Zen Master really does need the money as he is the highest-paid coach in the NBA and has already made his money throughout his time in the league. So you would think that money isn’t much of a problem, but what is the problem is if the Lakers do not repeat as NBA champs this season.
If Kobe Bryant and company cannot get back to championship form this season, Phil Jackson has stated that it would be very difficult for him to return as the Lakers head coach.
This is nothing new as it has been said by Phil Jackson before, but one would think that the Lakers would look pretty different next season if he does finally decide to call it quits or chooses to coach elsewhere.