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Colin Cowherd On How Phil Jackson Made Michael Jordan A Better Team Player: "Pass The Ball To Pippen, Sometimes Give It To Kukoc Or Kerr."

Colin Cowherd On How Phil Jackson Made Michael Jordan A Better Team Player: "Pass The Ball To Pippen, Sometimes Give It To Kukoc Or Kerr."

Basketball is a team sport. While there will always be generational talents that can win games on their own, no team in NBA history has won a championship off the efforts of one player alone. This is a fact that is often overlooked when we rank individual players and what they achieved over their careers, as championship rings are team accomplishments before they are individual accomplishments.

Players have tried winning on weak teams alone and never gotten very far. The furthest anyone has gone with a herculean single effort was LeBron James in 2007, but even he had surrounding players he could trust that enabled the Cleveland Cavaliers to make the NBA Finals.

The importance of trusting your teammates is something Michael Jordan learned the hard way. After struggling for years to break through the first round of the playoffs, the Bulls made a winning switch when they hired Phil Jackson to be their coach. Jackson understood what MJ could do on the court but pushed him to trust his teammates like Scottie Pippen, Toni Kukoc, and Steve Kerr.

“Nobody told Michael Jordan that [trust teammates] in the first seven years of his career…After Jordan had been beat up again and again and again in the playoffs.

"Phil Jackson came in and said, ‘Hey sometimes, pass the ball to Pippen, sometimes give it to Kukoc or Kerr…You knew watching Jordan he can score 45 a night.” (h/t Sportskeeda)

Through Jordan's era in Chicago, a lot of surrounding role-players made some championship-altering shots. John Paxson and Steve Kerr's playoff game-winners will go down in history for their magnitude in helping the Bulls 3-peat twice. Jordan allegedly told Jackson he was more comfortable with Kerr taking the shot in the 1997 NBA Finals

Jordan trusting his teammates led to incredible success for the Bulls and his personal legacy. We will see more players try to replicate MJ by winning rings, but that won't be possible unless those players have great teams built around them.