Phil Jackson Downplays ‘Confrontation’ With Ron Artest

Phil Jackson — who’s been at the center of mini controversies all week long — said a published report of a recent tête-a-tête between him and Tru Warier was mostly correct, but some details were embellished. From ESPN: “Before Tuesday’s game against the Pistons, Phil Jackson responded to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports of a dust up between the head coach and Ron Artest: ‘At a recent practice, league sources said, Artest loudly confronted Jackson… Essentially, Artest told Jackson that if he wants to coach him, coach him. Just stop embarrassing him in public.’ … ‘It’s close to accurate,’ Jackson said of the report. ‘It was not a loud confrontation, it was a man-to-man confrontation. And it was obviously out of character for both that to happen at practice, and for Ron. And it wasn’t about embarrassing him publicly, it was about some of the issues that had been brought up that have focused about him.’ Jackson called the incident ‘out of character for both that to happen at practice, and for Ron.’ Later, according to Jackson, Artest delivered an unsolicited apology both to him and the team for causing a distraction. There was nothing about what happened Jackson found particularly unusual about the chatfrontation, save the fact somebody talked about it to the media. ‘Obviously there’s either a spy, or a camera, or a leak, or something that went on in our practice,’ he smiled. ‘But [arguments] are things that happen in practice, and it’s not the first time, and it’s not going to be the last.’ For his part, Artest refused to comment specifically despite being asked about 12 different ways to describe what happened. ‘I would have to talk to coach first because last year I had issues with coach going to the media first before [coming to me],’ he said. ‘I’ve been working so hard over the last couple years on my whole Ron Artest image. I worked real hard to try to keep everything positive so it’s really hard to comment on anything right now at this point and time until I would speak to coach.'”