Ever since high school I’ve been big into basketball.
I still remember the first NBA game that I ever watched, a Christmas Day game – the Chicago Bulls vs. the Detroit Pistons, a heated rivalry back in the day.
Back before Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen became champions.
The lights went dark and the music started. Chills went down my spine.
Then the starting line-ups were announced.
I was in awe.
Despite Michael Jordan’s individual success it wasn’t until Scottie Pippen emerged as a star in his own right and Phil Jackson started coaching them that the magic was created.
Phil Jackson went on to not only win 2 three-peats with the Bulls but also went on to win another three-peat with Shaq and Kobe in LA.
This year he had the chance to win a 4th and final three-peat with Kobe but it was not to be.
Perennial failures in the post season, the Dallas Mavericks came into the series as the underdogs against the heavily favored Lakers but prevailed in spectacular fashion.
While two of the four games came down to the final few minutes, the last game ended up being a blow out.
With his run at another title ending he says that he’s hanging it up and retiring from the game.
20 years and 11 championships.
His most successful team being the Chicago Bulls after Michael came back from retirement. Losing only 10 games the entire year. 72-10.
The following year he followed it up with 69 wins. The second most in a season tied with the Lakers.
He then took his talents to LA where he brought them 5 championships.
People often point to the talent on his team being the major factor being the major reason for his success but each year there are teams full of talent that fail to win.
Talent is never enough; it’s only through discipline, practice and education that talent becomes unstoppable.
Phil Jackson understood this and got his players to buy into it.
He developed a system, trusted both his players and advisors, inspired teamwork, and put all the pieces together.
That is why he walks away the most successful NBA coach ever with 11 championships. (2 more than the great Red Auerbach with the Boston Celtics)
I am reminded of what Keith Cunningham, a good friend of Robert Kiyosaki, once said, “There are two types of people. Those with lots of excuses and those with lots of results.”
Phil Jackson got results.
He will be missed.
Thanks for the memories Phil.