Phil Jackson’s Coaching Profile
In NBA, coaches are central to stirring teams to championship by bring out the best from individual players and motivating the entire team.
It is unquestionable that Phil Jackson is one of the greatest coaches in the world, having won 229 post-season games.
These post-season wins translate to eleven championships in the NBA, making him the greatest coach in history of the game. He also has the highest win rate of 70.4%.
Let us check some of the teams that benefited from the skills and experience of the most decorated coach in the history of NBA.
Coaching Career Summary
Many might claim that Jackson was fortunate to have at his disposal the likes of Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, and Scottie Pippen.
On the contrary, it takes top-tier coaching and great leadership skills to convert such crop of players in winners and champion winning side.
Phil’s success in turning ordinary players into stars and well as consistent winners qualifies him the moniker Zen Master.
The following is a summary of Phil’s storied NBA coaching career: Assistant coach – New Jersey Nets and Chicago Bulls. Head Coach – Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks.
Pre-Bulls Coaching Career
Phil Jackson, as a player, was a great power forward from the bench who averaged 6.7 points, 1.1 assists and 4.3 rebounds a game all through his career.
After being drafted by the Knicks, the power forward had an immediate impact as a rookie and made it to All-Rookie First Team of NBA 1968.
Phil’s outstanding IQ and defense earned him a spot in the teams and was considered one of the greatest players in New York Knicks’s bench.
He is a winner of two championship as a player, in 1970 and 1973, with most of his contribution coming off the bench as a substitute.
Bulls Assistant Coach (1987 – 1989)
Phil retired from active playing in 1978 and went to join New Jersey as player-assistant coach though he relinquish the player role after a season.
He worked on professional coach badges with the hope of landing an NBA coach job. Started his journey with Albany Patroons and went to win CBA coach of the year to earn a spot in the Eastern Conference.
Despite his brief coaching stint at Puerto Rico, Jackson was committed to landing a job at the NBA but was consistently rejected because of his counter-culture image.
He eventually found his way as NBA assistant coach in 1989 to deputize Doug Collins alongside Tex Winter, his fellow assistant coach,
The Bulls’ Head Coach (1989 – 1998)
In 1989, Phil was promoted to the head coach position and he did not disappoint. He stirred the franchise to historic heights – winning three championships.
His offense triangle – made up of Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan- proved to be an instant hit and success.
The well-resourced coach turned Bulls into perennial playoff contender as they played all playoffs except for three.
It is undisputable that Phil was integral to Bull’s most successful and best years in their history in NBA.
The Laker’s Head Coach (1999 – 2004)
After a brief sabbatical break from basketball coaching, Phil was hired by the Lakers to transform the sides fortunes.
At his disposal, Phil has players like Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal that helped stir the Los Angeles Lakers to success.
The Lakers dominated the 2001 postseason playoffs by finishing 15-1 – an NBA record that only a single team has been able to match.
The friction between Kobe and Shaq notwithstanding, Jackson made them work together and eventually navigated the Lakers side to the three-peat feat – the third in his career.
New Era 2009
In 2009, after years of turmoil following a period of success and the retirement of Shaq, Phil helped the Bryant-led Lakers win the championship after outclassing Orlando Magic in five thriller games.
The championship run turned to the initial of the two consecutive titles because they retained it in 2010. In the later season, the Lakers had to engage in an extremely physical matchup with the Boston Celtics in a title decider.
Jackson was with the Lakers until 2011 when he announced his retirement despite his memorable playoff stint.
It is unquestionable that Jackson was the most successful coach for not only Lakers but also in the NBA.
Frequently Asked Questions
Over nine seasons Jackson coached the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998). From there, he went to Los Angeles where he guided the Lakers to three straight titles (2000, 2001, 2002) and a fourth in 2009.