Friday, September 21, 2012

Phil Jackson is the most successful head coach not just in Basketball but in the entire history of professional sports. Over two decades of coaching, Jackson’s teams have won an astounding 11 National Basketball Association Championships. He is responsible for taking our nation’s most talented basketball heroes to achieve their first championship rings on their hands. I’m talking about guys like Michael Jordan , Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. Can’t we give tribute to our best coach instead of hearing about Sandusky our worst pedophile coach who has ruined the great reputation of Penn State University football forever?
Jackson retired after last season but we all hope he will return to the game; after all he was in it even as a player in college. He has retreated to his secluded summer home in Montana; a property that he has owned for 40 years. Did he retire because he has a championship ring for every finger with one to spare? He is 66 years old and hardly the age of when some coaches retire. Being a public man all his life he now goes to Montana for privacy.
The land in Montana is sacred to him. His parents were both Fundamentalist Ministers who preached throughout Montana and are buried just across his lake. He goes to this home every summer joined by his children and seven grand kids. Usually he is there to recharge after the playoffs and to plot the next championship run. This year in retirement Jackson is recuperating from knee replacement surgery he had in March and so far the results are very good.
He is happy not to have to endure arthritic pain all the time but still won’t commit to possibly coaching again even though he is now in better shape than he has been in the past seven years. When there is a coaching job available, Jackson is the first name they consider for the job. Most recently was the New York Knicks where he started his career in 1967. He says he doesn’t want the job because they don’t play like a team. Amar'e Stoudemire doesn’t fit well with Carmelo  Anthony they are both great players but they don’t work together like Jordan did with Scotty Pippin. They are good players but someone has to be a good passer and the ball can’t stop every time the high ego players get the ball in their hands.
Talented players need to be able to blend together and Jackson was known to be able to teach the famous players to find their best place on the floor and to be able to pass the ball more. Thus every player had the opportunity to score their 30 points per game. If someone was off, who cares ,there was another star player around to pick up the slack. He would even consider a management role if he comes back to basketball not necessarily being a coach.
Whatever he does, the goal will be the same as he has always done, to form a team that plays hard, that plays for each other. For Jackson he needs a team that appreciates the art of Buddhist Meditation. He believes that the meditation calms his players down to be able to concentrate amid the chaos of the fast paced game. No one approaches Professional sports quite the way he does. Jackson formulated his coaching philosophy using theories of group dynamics , the wisdom of his old coach Red Holtzman from the Knicks and Buddhism. In basketball when your opponent hits you in the stomach with an elbow and all you want to do is get revenge, you know that is not the way to go about it. You should just go into the next play and let the referees deal with the fouls.
His players and other coaches were skeptical at first. Bobby Knight and Michael Jordan were two guys that thought they knew the game the best but Jackson taught them how to take a deep breath and pass the ball then let it come back to them and then do their fabulousness with the sphere. He used the words conspiracy and inspiration both that mean with breath. It is about coming to play and part with their egos at the door. Leave the egos with the press and the swarming fans.
It was hard to make the best players who never won a championship to be able to accept coaching again. One method he used in coaching when he was in Miami and in Chicago was a Native American method called Smudging. It is changing the air you breath like what the priest does in the Catholic Church or the Indians do from India with burning incense. He would burn the scent of Sage in the locker room and the training room and got the players to breath and meditate. Phil Jackson train me please to be a better player in this world.

No comments:

Post a Comment