Phil Jackson Told the Lakers He Had Prostate Cancer During 2011 Playoffs

by April 29, 2013

The Zen Master dropped a bombshell on his team as they were on their way to getting swept by the Dallas Mavericks — Phil Jackson revealed he had prostate cancer in 2011. Per the OC Register (via Lakers Ground): “It was during that 2011 postseason that Jackson tried something different than he ever had, which he reveals in his new book ‘Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success,’ to be released to the public May 21. It’s no small thing, and it might explain a little what happened to Jackson and that Lakers team that failed to win a third consecutive championship. Jackson was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March 2011. After doctors assured him the cancer could be controlled by drugs temporarily, Jackson waited until after the season to undergo surgery. Jackson decided to divulge his situation to his players when he sensed the team was lacking something in the playoffs. ‘Shocking,’ Pau Gasol said Saturday, remembering Jackson’s disclosure to the team. “But then you also could understand certain moments of his demeanor, energy and involvement because of what he was going through health-wise. It explained certain things. It was a shock. A difficult moment for the team.’ Gasol said Jackson talked with team captains Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher privately before telling the whole team in a video session – but Jackson was left second-guessing the revelation in which he became teary-eyed as he spoke … the Lakers strangely fading in that series vs. Dallas. Gasol allowed that it was different for the team to see Jackson – ‘such a big figure, the physical and spiritual leader of the team’ – as vulnerable. ‘As much as I love Phil and I appreciate everything about him,’ Gasol said, “it was difficult to know.'”