Tuesday, June 19th, 2012 at 1:50 pm  |  51 responses

Phil Jackson Wanted Kobe Bryant to Play More Like LeBron James

The HBO Real Sports interview with Phil Jackson doesn’t air until tonight, but the juicy tidbits continue to leak out. The latest from the Zen Master, is of him talking about the differences between LeBron James and two superstars he coached in the past (Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant). Per the Palm Beach Post: “Do you think LeBron’s not being utilized in the best way? Phil Jackson: ‘Oh, they’re– they’re using LeBron every possible way they can. He’s such a great player. I still think his game is gonna grow. I still think it’s gonna grow. But he was like Scottie Pippen was to the Bulls. He’s maybe a pass first and shoot second player. Whereas, you know, Michael or Kobe are like, ‘I’m gonna shoot this ball.’ Every time they get the ball, they’re looking to score. LeBron’s not like that. And I love that about him. But he also, when he goes after scoring, he’s also terrific. You want a player that can do both. I tried to get Kobe to do both for numbers of years, and he could. But his first instinct is to beat the guy that’s in front of him.’”

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  • El Black Mamba

    In other words.. “just pass the ball you got teammates that are actually good”

  • Rainman

    The headline is once again pretty misleading, from what u read in the article…

  • DruNyce

    BS title .. media hype at it’s finest.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Nick Tha Quick

    Oooh them be fighting words! The comments will surely explode today. 500+.

  • CDaTyrant

    Let the hate…..begin!

  • http://Slamonline.com Gab

    Headline aside, Phil’s comment was surprisingly objective and fair to both players.

  • http://slamonline.com The Philosopher

    Well, there you have it.
    From the mouth of the Greatest Coach in all of the History of the NBA.
    The King is… BETTER than Kobe Bryant.
    There should be no further discussion for the rest of all time.


    there you go philosopher loool.

  • Ken

    81 points

  • http://slamonline.com The Philosopher

    I can’t get over it…
    The G.O.A.T. coach wishes that Joe Bryant’s son play like THE KING!

  • Gus

    let’s make this a headline contest!

    “Phil Jackson wanted to trade Kobe for LeBron”

  • l2ising Phoenix

    “Zen Master wants to coach the Miami heat ; snubs Bryant “

  • kobesBESTfriend

    Kobe would pass 2 Wade and Bosh if he played with them…Chalmers and Miller not so much

  • Heals

    Do you Philo! Very fair assessment by Phil and I agree for the most part. In the same regard are we asking things of Mamba that he may not be totally comfortable with. To me at some point in their lives Kob was instilled with a “I’ll die before I take a chance that one of my teammates misses this shot when I could’ve taken it myself, that’s my job, I trust my practice” whereas LBJ was instilled with “I’ve got to make something happen so that my teammates or I get a great look, even if I’m not entirely sure they can come through I must trust the play.” Neither is entirely wrong or right, it’s just natural for them to do it these particular ways…

  • OTB

    That’s quite a misleading title there. He essentially just said that Lebron is pass-first, shoot-second but can score too, while Kobe/Michael are shoot-first guys who can also pass, but it isn’t their mentality. As in, common sense sh*t.

  • Dungeon Family

    This title really really is Misleading but I get it Slam trying to get hits

  • bike

    All he is saying they are two different players. Everyone knows that.
    All that being said, LeBron has the potential to be the G.O.A.T.

  • Kent Jackson

    Translation: I wanted Michael Jordan to be more like Magic Johnson even though Michael has more rings. Foolishness.

  • CubicleWorker

    Or slam could have posted this “Phil Jackson says LeBron more like Pippen than Jordan”

  • O

    Seems like Phil Jackson is trying to get Riley’s attention for the coaching job, as is Jeff Van Gundy when he SLURPS on the Heat every time he does commentary for the playoffs.

  • bdogg

    i think what phil meant was that kb should not settle for jump shots..that is what i got out of it. kobe ia an attack player even when shaq was in purple and gold. to be honest the triangle kinda put handcuffs on kobe anyway ditto for MJ. kobe is best on the break especially now. lebron is 270….kobe is 205 he has to pick his spots and unfortunately when a defense gets set kobe ends up with the ball with 5 ticks and running down. he is forced a lot of time into difficult shots!

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rwDluFZQmtQ Max

    “Phil Jackson says Lebron is better than Jordan”

  • anonymous

    The title is not that far-fetched. Phil has never been as blunt as a Popovich when making his points. did Phil come out and say that “he wanted kobe to play more like lebron?” No. yet it was implied by “You want a player that can do both. I tried to get Kobe to do both for numbers of years, and he could. But his first instinct is to beat the guy that’s in front of him.” The key phrase is the “But” since it implies that the speaker has reservations or objections towards the action or subject of the sentence/discussion. In this case, Phil objected to kobe`s style of play and wanted him to both score and pass to his teammates (more) like lebron. and Phil believes that he is capable of doing so.

  • EJ

    I don’t think Phil said anything about who is the better basketball player. WHat he did say was that he likes Lebron’s style of play better than Kobe’s, and encouraged Kobe to look to pass first rather than to look to take the shot first.

  • Sway

    Looks like some of you lack reading comprehension, and yes the title is MISLEADING. Anything to get hits, I guess.

  • RedRum

    guys, remember Jax is thinking Triangle here. His obsession was to see the offense be played in its most efficient way. And although the offense gives ample opportunity for one on one game, it is at its most beautiful when played by players who see the pass. That is why he says that its best implementation was with the Shaq-Kobe 3peat team, where Kobe was more of a distributor and Shaq although a beast in the post was skilled enough to pass the ball. Now, what he does is he envisions Lebron with his passing skills playing in the triangle and how Lebron could play it at its best.

  • http://theurbangriot.com The NUPE

    I don’t get how the title is misleading? Phil said that he was trying to get Kobe to play more like that for a number of years. I often agree that the title of some the the reports on this site are ‘off’, but in this case, I don’t see it as misleading at all.

  • http://Slamonline.com Gab

    Co-sign EJ.

  • St Obama

    I think all coaches want their players to play more like Lebron.
    He’s freakin’ awesome… hello.

  • Mp7three

    The tagline is misleading. Its actually is Phil saying Lebron has a different mindset then Kobe & Jordan but that Kobe at times play like Lebron…which isnt sexy enough to make some click on Twitter link to the story so they manipulated for hype.

  • kobesbiggestfan

    Sounds like he is saying Lebron > Bryant.

  • http://Slamonline.com Gab

    ^ It doesn’t.

  • anonymous

    @gab but it “sounds” like he is saying lebron > bryant

  • Greg

    doing both (passing AND shooting AND knowing WHEN to do either, is what makes a superstar. I just remember MJ continually charging to the rim and getting to the foul line whereas in my opinion, Kobe was borderline obsessed by beating you with the jumpshot. You tell me what strategy you would choose…

  • CubicleWorker

    “Phil Jackson wears LeBron jersey while mowing lawn. Runs over Kobe jersey, Knicks”

  • Mp7three

    Of course Phil doesnt mention that playing in the triangle meant no real point guard was used and that Kobe lead those teams in assists. So Kobe did more then just shoot and somehow helped get Phil 5 rings.

  • RedRum

    ^ very good point. still, Jax and Kobe would fight because Kobe would break the offense and just shoot, while in many situations if he was a bit more patient and wanted to pass there was a much better option coming up through the offense. I have been playing and coaching the Triangle for 20 years, and there were times where I could feel Phil’s frustration watching Kobe play. I could see the offense developing providing Kobe with great passing options, but he would just go and chuck a shot… What Phil is actually saying that Lebron would make the pass over the fadeaway jumper that Kobe routinely took in those situations.

  • Conoro

    “Phil Jackson wears LeBron jersey while mowing lawn. Runs over Kobe jersey, Knicks” – LMAO, CubicleWorker.
    Some people are maliciously illiterate.

  • Conoro

    *Not CubicleWorker.

  • http://www.hoopsworld.com IamYOU

    cosign The Philosopher Lebron is much better than Kobe. And and and..Lebron passes.

  • Zabbah

    “Phil Jackson says Delonte West slept with Kobe’s mom.”

  • Matt Park

    Exactly. Kobe is able to find his teammates and set them up, but he won’t. This is one of the major differences between Michael Jordan and Kobe… MJ learned to make that open pass regularly, while Kobe makes the correct pass/swing occasionally.

  • http://www.thesmashbrothas.com zen garden

    lebron is better then mike n kobe n like phil said his game is gonna grow..but if rondo can hit jumpers an freethrows ..then….

  • http://bedotwater.bandcamp.com BE.water

    The thing that lets me come to terms with how Kobe plays is that, He believes he can make that shot. And frankly, he can. We only know how to judge the after effect.

  • kobe

    this is true, thats even in the clutch, when the game is on the line, lebron is still passing the ball… lol, come on, kobe is kobe, he like’s to win, thats why he got 5 rings, lebron is lebron, he likes to pass, thats why, he got nothing!!!

  • PnoyVibe

    stfu PJax, he helped you get 5 rings

  • Alpha

    Kobe is a different player one so close to Jordan style. Both Jordan and Kabe are gifted players with more of natural basketball skills plays vs. being physical. This season basketball becomes physical than past seasons I enjoy watching. The referee calls seem s to favor the big names in the game vs. the younger players who are using more of gifted skills.

  • Greg

    What Phil actually meant & wanted to say but couldn’t & wouldn’t: I wish Shaq had the work ethic of Tim Duncan and I wish Kobe had the unselfishness of Tim Duncan, then we could have won 6-7 rings…” I’ll say it for him.

  • BaronVonCool

    Jordan is the GOAT till some one wins two 3peats, 5 MVPs and scores as efficiently and more than he did. That makes it next to impossible to ever be better than MJ. If Lebron is lucky and continues to work hard he will reach the Magic, Kobe, Bird, Shaq, level. Also each player is uniquely talented in their own way so player comparisons are inherently going to be off. Lebron is an amazing talent but so is Kobe. Kobe has a killer instinct and that fuels his talent and desire to win. As Lebron said his love of the game and his physical gifts are what make him great.

  • http://www.nba.com bike

    I stink of gorilla juice all day. Errday.

  • D

    @Rainman – Read the article very well. And most of all…UNDERSTAND. What is written on the headline is in the article.