What made Phil Jackson the GOAT coach, per former Lakers players
Former Los Angeles Lakers tactician Phil Jackson is regarded as one of the greatest coaches in NBA history.
The “Zen Master” won six championships with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s and later captured five more titles with the Lakers.
With that, some of Jackson’s former players commented on the reasons he should be considered the greatest coach in NBA history. In an interview with Ryan Wards of ClutchPoints, Adam Morrison explained Jackson is a mastermind in handling multiple personalities and bringing them together to achieve a common goal.
“Phil’s style is nothing that anybody else implores,” Morrison said, as highlighted in Episode 6 of ClutchPoints’ docu-series The Final Ring.
“I was just impressed by how he manages egos and players. Even when I was the end of the bench player, he always made sure that we got our runs during practice. To me, he was one of the greatest of all time not just because of the wins but because of how he manages guys and not freaking out. He was always even-keeled even when we had a bad run and his energy reverberates across the team. He’s just a brilliant manager. He’s more of a manager than a coach.”
Phil Jackson had plenty of egos and personalities to manage during his coaching career with the Buls and Lakers, including Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Metta World Peace among others.
Former Lakers shooting guard Sasha Vujacic told Ward his old head coach had a tremendous ability to incorporate role players and make them feel significant. While Jackson’s teams were anchored by Jordan, Bryant and Shaq, he still had to help the likes of Vujacic, Steve Kerr and other role players see their own value.
Additionally, Jordan Farmar said Jackson forced Lakers players to confront pressure.
“It was his philosophy and it just worked out that a playoff series and a seven-game series you can put a lot of pressure on point guards and make them have to do quite a bit,” Farmar shared.
Jackson might not have been a big X’s and O’s coach. However, he was a master at managing and understanding his personnel and what made the whole team work as a unit.