Phil Jackson on Miami Heat: Teamwork Wins, Not Talent

by September 22, 2010

by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

The Zen Master knows a thing or two (or thirteen) about winning titles. Having won them as both a player and coach, his opinion on the matter is rather meaningful.

So, is Phil ready to jump on the revamped Heat’s bandwagon, and crown them as champs? Well, not exactly.

Jackson spoke to ESPN 1000 about LeBron and co., and cautions that accumulating great talent does not always result in championship glory.

The OC Register
and LA Times have the quotes:

He apparently isn’t all that impressed that the Heat has three of the league’s best players, and he certainly is ready to crown them NBA champions without a fight. Or at least a season’s worth of games. “They got great talent,” Jackson said in an interview with ESPN 1000 in Chicago. “There’s no question about their talent they have. But, talent doesn’t always win. The team that shows the best teamwork will win it. We think that (the Lakers) have established something. But, if (the Heat) can unite — and build quickly — they might be able to do it.”

Jackson went on to mention a great Lakers triumvirate of the past. “I always refer to when Wilt Chamberlain was traded from Philadelphia to Los Angeles and that put Baylor, West and Chamberlain together and they never won a championship together the four years they were together,” Jackson said. “It’s not always scorers and talent that wins it. But it’s teamwork that does it.”

Jackson, long known for his psychological jabs at foes, didn’t say anything mind-blowing, or entirely revealing about Miami’s new super-team. He basically repeated what every thinking basketball fan has known since Pat Riley pulled off the deal(s) of a lifetime.

Should the Lakers and Heat meet up in the NBA Finals next June, it’ll be interesting to see just how carefully — if at all — Phil Jackson chooses his words then.