There Is Phil, Zen Everybody Else
That's part one.
Here's the rest of it: This 6-foot-8 Sigmund Freud already is dribbling inside the heads of the Boston Celtics. You know as much, because they kept insisting on Wednesday before practice that Jackson wasn't.
Which meant Jackson was.
Fresh from pontificating about Steve Nash's tendency to "carry the ball" for the Phoenix Suns and suggesting earlier in the playoffs that young Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant already gets preferential treatment from officials, Jackson spoke this week about the Celtics' "smack down" mentality. To translate, he wants the officials to keep thicker Boston from brutalizing his players. He also wants the Celtics to think about his words to become psychologically affected, which is likely.
Celtics guard Ray Allen forced a smile, saying, "I think [Jackson's mind games] are overrated. I'm a guy who doesn't read the newspapers. I don't watch TV. I know what my job is to do. So once we go out on the floor, the job is to be played between the lines."
Uh-huh. Added Celtics center Kendrick Perkins, "I mean, we know how Phil is. We don't really focus on Phil. We know how he likes to shoot stuff, and stuff like that. So we're really focused on the Celtics."
The Celtics really are focused on the Celtics and Phil -- and then maybe the rest of the Lakers after that.
In contrast, the Lakers are concerned with Phil, the Lakers and then the Celtics. If you haven't noticed, the common denominator is Phil, who also is accomplished at dominating the thoughts of his own players. The difference is, when Phil does so with the Lakers, it's for the good as opposed to whatever he is trying to do with the other guys.
"I think his success with us is that he doesn't talk too much, and he has an uncanny way of allowing guys to be themselves and be who they are," said Derek Fisher, the Lakers point guard for all of Jackson's world championships in Los Angeles. "He kind of gives guys room to make mistakes. But at the time, he knows how to tighten the screws up. That's why he's been so successful with so many different teams."
No question there. Jackson won big in Chicago because of a Michael Jordan and despite a Dennis Rodman, and Jackson is doing the same in Los Angeles because of a Kobe Bryant and despite a Ron Artest. If you add Jackson's six world championships with the Bulls to his four and counting with the Lakers (not to mention his ability to rattle foes with his tongue), that equals the best NBA coach ever.
The man ranks higher than Red Auerbach, Pat Riley, Larry Brown and others who are just the figment of somebody's imagination regarding who really is the greatest of the greatest.
That's why this Phil bashing makes no sense.
Well, it does, because jealousy and ignorance prevail when it comes to Jackson's place in NBA coaching history. As a result, the Phil bashers need to chill -- you know, about as much as he does on the sidelines while pushing his teams to victory with a mix of X's and O's, Zen philosophies and mind games that make CIA operatives envious.
The Michael Excuse is illogical. The same goes for the Shaq and Kobe Excuse. So you know where I'm going when it comes to the Phil bashers who rip the Lakers' dominance under Jackson by switching from the Shaq and Kobe Excuse to just the Kobe Excuse.
As for those Michael, Shaq and Kobe excuses, the Phil bashers like to claim that, courtesy of Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant on his various rosters, Jackson managed his record 10 world championships with the NBA's best player each of those years.
To which, you should yawn.
Nobody has won multiple NBA championships without a great player, but you've had a slew of coaches with a great player who didn't manage a single world championship (see Mike Brown with LeBron James and Jerry Sloan with Karl Malone and John Stockton).
Consider, too, that Auerbach coached his way to nine NBA world championships with more Hall of Famers than anybody. During the 1960s, he once had at least five on the same team.
"I don't rank coaches, but let's face it: Any time you have 10 rings, and your team is in the NBA Finals seven out of 10 years, you know that you're working to your maximum and that your teams are playing up to their potential," said Hubie Brown, the former NBA coaching great and accomplished television basketball analyst. "It's the most difficult thing to do in the NFL and in the NBA, and that is to have great talent and to win it when you're supposed to.
"People don't understand that pressure.
"It's the pressure that nothing else is acceptable but championships. And Phil has done it by surrounding himself with excellent assistants, and he has done it with his unique style."
Ask the Celtics.
They'll tell you -- indirectly.