The difference between Gregg Popovich, Phil Jackson according to Bulls’ 3-peat player
During his time in the league, former NBA big man Will Perdue had the privilege of playing under two of the greatest coaches in the history of the game: Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich. Recently, the four-time NBA champ opened about his thoughts on both coaches.
Perdue said Phil Jackson’s coaching style revolved around how to best motivate his players.
‘Phil saw us as a means to an end,’’ Perdue said, via Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times. ‘‘He took it upon himself to get the best out of me, Horace [Grant], Scottie [Pippen], Michael [Jordan], Steve [Kerr], every player. . . . That was his approach. It got you fired up; you played well that way. He did a nice job of identifying how to motivate each individual. Poke the bear. How do you poke the bear of each guy?
Perdue was part of the first three-peat of the Chicago Bulls under Phil Jackson. He was traded to the San Antonio Spurs in 1995, where he played under Popovich for four seasons. Perdue prefers Popovich’s more personal approach.
‘‘Pop was more of a father figure,” Perdue said. “I mean, he got on your ass, but he wasn’t afraid to have an honest conversation with you. . . . It was like: ‘You, you and you, we go to Houston, we’re going to dinner. Cancel any plans you have. We’re going to dinner on me, and [there’s] just one rule: We talk everything but basketball. No basketball.’
‘‘I’m not saying Phil Jackson is an a—hole, but I don’t know if he had my best interest at heart. He had the team’s best interest at heart, no ifs, ands or buts about that. Anytime you talked to Pop, you could tell he had your interest and the team’s interest at heart. He made us all feel we were an important part of the equation.”
It does not seem Perdue is taking a shot at Phil Jackson.
He is praising Popovich for trying to connect with his guys — something that according to Perdue, seemed unimportant to Phil Jackson.
Perdue admitted that despite the differences, he still enjoyed his time under Phil Jackson and Pop.
‘‘Both were great coaches, but [they were] different. I was in a win-win,’’ Perdue concluded.
Perdue collected four titles in his career. He won three with the Bulls with Phil Jackson, then a fourth one with the Spurs in 1999.