Phil Jackson: The best NBA Coach in history? Phil Jackson is a former American professional basketball player and current coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Jackson is considered one of the best coaches in the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA). His name was established as head coach of the Chicago Bulls during 1989 – 1998, when Chicago won six NBA titles. Then his team, the Los Angeles Lakers won five NBA titles from 2000 to 2010. Altogether, Jackson won 11 NBA titles as coach, beating a record set by Red Auerbach. He currently holds the record for most championships in NBA history as a head coach and a player, after he broke the tie and the Los Angeles Lakers won the 2009 NBA Finals over Orlando Magic four games to one.
Jackson is famous for using the Tex Winter’s triangle offense and a holistic approach to coaching, which is influenced by Eastern philosophy, making him the “Zen Master.” Jackson refers to Robert Pirsig’s book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance as one of the major directing forces in his life. He also uses the Native American spiritual practices as demonstrated in his book “Sacred Hoops”. He has written several books about his teams and his strategies of basketball. He is also the receiver of the North Dakota’s Roughriders Award. In 2007, he was inaugurated in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
In 1996, as part of celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the National Basketball Association, Jackson was titled as one of the greatest 10 coaches in the history of basketball. Jackson, who is undoubtedly noted as the best coach, was also the supporter of talent filled teams. During his stay in Chicago and Los Angeles, Phil has had the luxury of the five times MVP Michael Jordan and one time MVP Kobe Bryant who led his teams. With probably the best player in the league with a team coach makes coaching certainly much easier.
Given the fact that Phil has never had a really bad set of players, it asks for a question: Just how good is Phil Jackson as coach? There is no doubt about the legacy of Jackson as coach, but to continue strengthen his own legacy as the best NBA coach ever, people would like to see him come back again next year with some other team than the Lakers. While he may take a less talented team – like a team without a superstar like Jordan or Bryant – for the playoffs, and even at the end, no one can have any doubt in his or her mind that he is the best ever.
For me, it is difficult to find another coach as good as Phil Jackson, in terms of achievement in the NBA. However, a large part of what makes a coach the best coach is the ability to make a good team into a great team. And I’m not sure Phil had to do it at any time in his coaching career.