Phil Jackson is widely regarded as one of the greatest coaches in basketball history. Having won 11 Championships, he is a winner who specialized in working with high-profile stars.
But back before he was able to solidify his legacy in Los Angeles, much of his success was attributed to the heroics of Michael Jeffrey Jordan. Nobody back then knew what he would end up doing in Los Angeles and for Skip Bayless, he wasn’t sold on Jackon’s worth at all.
“For now, Jackson has fooled the Lakers, their followers and himself. After he was introduced Wednesday as the new Lakers coach, Los Angeles seemed to believe the ‘Zen master’ also will rid the city of traffic, smog, earthquakes and Roseanne.
Before long Los Angeles will learn the same expensive lesson with Jackson that Houston learned with Scottie Pippen and San Antonio with Steve Kerr and Phoenix with Luc Longley and the Lakers with Dennis Rodman and that Chicago will learn with General Manager Jerry Krause.
They were all much better with Michael Jordan. The magic-by-association is non-transferable.”
He went so far as to say Jordan “made” Jackson.
“Without the greatest player ever’s underappreciated ability to coach and play, Jackson is just a pretty good coach, spell-binding orator and sly politician who was charismatic enough to win Jordan’s friendship and undying loyalty. Jordan made Jackson, not vice versa.
In L.A. they’re celebrating ‘vice versa.; Media friends there tell me they can’t remember fans and critics so unanimously, unconditionally joyful over any move made by any L.A. team. It is now official: The Lakers have won the next three NBA titles, if not more.”
Jackson would go on to win five titles with the Lakers, proving that he could not only succeed without Michael but that he could thrive. Today, while we all recognize players have a much larger and more important role than coaches, nobody today tries to discredit Jackson for his work on the sidelines.
His brilliant mind coupled with his aptitude for dealing with large personalities made him the perfect coach for teams loaded with star power and potential.
Hopefully, Skip recognizes that now.