Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010 at 9:00 am  |  44 responses

Phil Jackson’s Daughter: ‘I Think He’s Done Now’

by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

The biggest question heading into this offseason for the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers is the status of Phil Jackson. The Zen Master, who now owns 11 rings, is contemplating retirement, largely due to health concerns.

No one — not even the folks deep within the organization — seems to have a clue as to what Phil will ultimately decide to do.

Jackson’s daughter, Chelsea, may have some insight on her father’s big decision. She tells Sports Illustrated that she believes Jackson has coached his final NBA game:

As the clock ticked down on the 83–79 win, every Laker stood except Jackson. Finally, he rose and ambled toward midcourt, exchanging a few embraces. Usually when a coach wins a title he can’t get an inch of personal space. But the 64-year-old Jackson stood alone for a solid 10 seconds, staring into the upper bowl, savoring what he had wrought. He recognizes, even after 11 of these things, that each one could be his last.

“I think this is it,” Chelsea says. “I think he’s done now.”

Really, what is the difference between 11 championships and 12, between three threepeats and a fourth? Jackson eclipsed Red Auerbach’s record of nine titles last year. He could walk away on his two artificial hips and his bum left knee and be thankful the damage from a career spent in the gym was not worse. This seems like the time, with his contract up and owner Jerry Buss threatening to slice his $12 million salary.

“If you asked me last February if I was going to continue to coach, I’d have given you a long look and said, ‘Probably not.’” Those were Jackson’s words, to this magazine, more than 14 years ago, before his second threepeat with the Bulls. He claimed then that he would retire within two seasons, and go off to another career, possibly in politics. Growing up, he assumed he would be a minister. Friends in college pegged him for a philosophy professor.

Phil Jackson has told the media that he’ll have a decision made within a week on whether or not to coach the Lakers next season.

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  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ Moose

    If Jackson isn’t there, then the Lakers better bring back Pat Riley, because this team will implode under another coach. Kobe respects Phil, and it took awhile for Phil to earn that respect. If the Lakers want to have a three-peat (which is entirely plausible) then I think bring back Phil is essential.

  • The Philosopher

    The greatest coach in NBA history.

  • http://slamonline.com Anjoe

    ONE MORE YEAR PHIL. We want a 3-peat!!

  • The Philosopher

    Maybe Van Gundy?

  • Exiled Zebra

    Kobe cant win without phil, ha

  • K.a.

    Best coach in nba history? Try best coach any sports ever.

  • jumpman3224

    Wish health wasn’t a factor with this. It will be sad to see the greatest coach ever retire (but what a fitting ending). If he leaves, B Scott has to become the number 1 option to replace him. I wonder though, if the Lakers will be able to continue the triangle sans Phil. Maybe one of his long time assistants could step in.

  • http://www.slamonline.com South Africa ’10

    One of the things Jackson was proud of about his teams was that they could function with minimal interference, or coaching. That said, the Lakers will be fine even if he leaves. But if the next coach is any kinf of control freak, hemight be driven out of his mind.

  • The Philosopher

    What about Brian Shaw?

  • jumpman3224

    @Philosopher: I like the idea, but I’m nervous about someone who used to be a role player under Kobe being his head coach. That being said Shaw has doen a great job and deserves consideration.

  • The Philosopher

    @Jumpman3224: Agreed. We shall see, right?

  • http://air-tsinelas.blogspot.com Roy

    It will be interesting for Kobe to try to win his 6th ring without the Zen Master. That I’m sure would pose a great challenge for him…

  • http://thephotoriot.com davidR

    a challenge fersure. but if he did win without the zen master, i wonder what other excuses kobe haters would come up with.

  • Yesse

    It would be sad to see Phil gone, but nobody stays healthy forever.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Bryant Scott will be a better coach than Shaw. Shaw holds Kobe into much reverence, Scott would challenge Kobe more and has the rings as a player to get in Kobe face to challenge him. Phil doesn’t coach anyway he sits there let the team play through things. Phil does more coaching in practice than live games anyway, and Phil could use a fourth three peat to show his real value as a coach again, but he doesn’t need title 12 to prove anything.

  • http://www.nba.com/suns Dacre

    Phil will be in NJ with LeBron….

  • ron

    no phil? no panic! Mr. Procopio can fill the hole!

  • The Philosopher

    Seed: Who’s NOT going to revere Kobe?

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Wrong wording. I mean Shaw is in awe of Kobe, thinks he is too great of a player and I feel Shaw will be scared to challenge Kobe because of his greatness. From the articles I read Shaw talking about Kobe, I think it wouldn’t work and Kobe would run the team. Kobe needs someone who is separated from Phils camp, like Bryant Scott who in his own right coached the Nets to two Finals and help Paul get the Hornets to a nice two year run.

  • KB24

    I agree, I think the natural replacement would be Byron Scott, why do you think he’s been holding off on the Cavs job?

  • T-Money

    I agreed with Seed. Shaw played with Kobe and probably had to play good cop as an asst coach. Byron Scott on the other hand seems like he truly doesn’t give a eff and was an accomplished player himself. His formar stars like Kidd and Paul swear by him.

  • http://thekobebeef.wordpress.com LDR4

    Phil doesnt need to prove anything else, plus he just wone 2 straight championships so a pay cut is obviously not Zen.

  • http://theurbangriot.com The Nupe

    The Lakers still have the most talented team in the L, it doesn’t take much of a coach to win another chip with this team. The main objective of a new coach would really be not to screw anything up. Phil has won a ton of rings but I’m not convinced he’s the greatest coach ever. Jordan/Pip, Shaq/Kobe, this stacked team… Hard to say these chips were so dependent on coaching. Phil himself has said as much. Anyway, If Shaw becomes the next coach then I think DFish will really be the person that runs the team and keeps others in line. Scott is well respected and could fill in nicely. JVG – I don’t see it happening, but maybe. Doc talked about leaving the C’s win or lose – that would be interesting, and highly doubful. My #1 guess is Phil stays, #2 Scott, #3 Shaw.

  • jumpman3224

    @The Nupe: Just curious, but if Phil isn’t the greatest coach ever, who is? Who is someone who is even in his league that doesn’t have superstars playing for him?

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/nba/2010/06/phil-jacksons-daughter-i-think-hes-done-now/ Mike

    What makes Phil great is that he tries to use all the team

  • kobesBESTfriend

    Y doesnt he just take the season off and return 4 the playoffs?thats all we need him 4

  • http://www.shawnkemp.com JACO

    Please phil stay one more year for this three peat. But if you dont’t you will be truly missed as a top 3 coach of all time. Bring in Byron Scott.

  • larrylegend

    BRIAN SHAW!!! always underrated, but great person/player/coach(?). and if doc leaves boston, JVG!

  • jose

    Don’t go. Go down like a warrior fighting till the end

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ The Promise

    I wouldn’t count on it.

  • Jesse Dunns Ghost

    Derek Fisher should become player-coach…

  • Mike L.

    I second Jesse Dunns Ghost:

    I believe that Derek Fisher would be a GREAT player-

  • Rafael

    One more year Mr. Phil, just one more year. We’ll pray for your good health. You’re great and God is Good.

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  • The Philosopher

    T-Money: Byron Scott played with Kobe during his rookie year.

  • RedRum

    Farewell master. Not just the best NBA coach ever, the best coach in any sport, EVER. His intelligence, demeanor has taught everyone involved in coaching the winning way. MJ, Shaq, Kobe would not be who they are without Jax. They might have won a ring or two, but to create dynasties like he did, is the work of a genius.

  • The Philosopher

    ^^ Very eloquent. Many true statements, in my opinion.^^

  • nastierthanu

    Greatest coach of all time Tom Tellez. Old school head coach of santa monica track club. Coached numerous gold medalist and world record holders in different disciplines. The nba final is every year. The olympics every 4.

  • Ronald

    I’m not sure JVG would fit with the Lakers. He’s a X’s and O’s kinda guy who you respect on the buddy level. And, the fact that he probably takes losing harder than most players. I’m not even sure he wants to come back to coaching yet.

  • http://yahoo.com Peter Tran

    Dr. Buss signed Phil Jackson to a 3 years contract paying him 10 to 12 million a year in order to win a championship. Not only did Jackson win a championship, he won 2 and took them to the Final 3 times during the contract time span. I saw that Dr. Buss has been a wonderful owner of an NBA franchise but what I don’t understand is why reduce a man’s salary when he exceeded your wildest expectation and even embarrassed him publicly. I think that has to affect Jackson’s psyche. He’s human too.
    Anyone who thinks what Phil Jackson did was duplicable can give it a try. As a Laker’s fan I am very sorry to see Phil go, if he does. I sure hope that he stays and Dr. Buss pays him the same salary or more but not less. That’s an insult if he gets any less. Money may not be the issue, but it creates an issue.

  • Jake

    Say it aint so:(. If he does retire I hope they hire Byron Scott or Mark Jackson though.I’d even be happy with Magic Johnson or Jerry West.Come on,gimme someone with a Los Angeles background.James Worthy?Kareem?

  • JoeMaMa

    John Wooden is the best coach ever. He won championships, but more importantly, he molded young men into leaders, and good people. I won’t deny Phil’s amazing record; he’s a winner and his tactics are brilliant. But a coach is also a mentor, and while Phil no doubt has done that, no one can deny that John Wooden’s impact beyond basketball is greater, and that’s what a coach is: someone who teaches beyond the Xs and Os. I love Phil, but I’m putting my vote with Wooden.

  • The Philosopher

    Co – sign JoMaMa: