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With a solid NBA career as a player, Phil Jackson won two titles with the New York Knicks. After retirement, Jackson coached three teams in the CBA and even got the Albany Patroons a title before his arrival into the NBA.
Jackson got the chance to coach in the NBA by starting as an assistant coach for the New Jersey Nets. He later joined the Chicago Bulls in 1987 and evolved into the head coach in 1989.
Michael Jordan was in his fourth season with the Bulls, averaging almost 40 points a game. Other surrounding pieces included Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and Steve Kerrr.
After taking the time to learn the winter’s triangle offense, originated by Tex Winter, it sparked a reign of six championships in the span of nine seasons.
Despite the success, the issues between Jackson and GM Jerry Krause became so distracting that Jackson was eventually pushed out after the 1997-98 season.
Even after vowing to never coach again, Jackson found a new home in the Los Angeles Lakers. This marked the next chapter of his dynasty reign.
With pieces in Kobe Bryant, Robert Horry, and Shaquille O’Neal, Jackson managed to bring the Lakers their brightest days since the Magic Johnson era.
For the next three years, the Lakers were at the center stage of the NBA. They ultimately three-peated for the first time since 1949.
However, at the conclusion of the three-peat, matters got out of hand. O’Neal was traded to Miami, Horry left for San Antonio, and Derek Fisher became an NBA journeyman before his return.
After acquiring Lamar Odom in the O’Neal Trade, the Lakers drafted Andrew Bynum in 2005. From there, they acquired Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies. With a new roster intact, the Lakers won their 15th and 16th titles.
In an attempt to three-peat once again in 2011, the Lakers were swept by the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Semifinals. As a result, Jackson announced his retirement after learning that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
During the 2012-2013 season, the Lakers fired Mike Brown, the projected successor of Jackson. Although Los Angeles offered Jackson his position again, they moved forward with Mike D’Antoni. As a result, Jackson signed a front office deal with the New York Knicks.
Although New York had stars in Carmelo Anthony and Jeremy Lin, Jackson couldn’t evolve the Knicks into the next NBA dynasty. Lin tore his meniscus in April of 2012, while Iman Shumpert tore his ACL and lateral meniscus in the playoffs. This was followed by Amar’e Stoudamire breaking his hand from punching a wall, and then Baron Davis tore his ACL, MCL and had a partial rupture in his patella tendon.
In June of 2017, the Knicks made an agreement with Jackson to accept a mutual release of him from his executive contract.
Despite the bad years spent with the Knicks, Jackson earned Coach of the Year in 1996, and won a total of 11 championships. With 1,155 wins and 485 losses, many see Jackson as one of the greatest coaches of all-time.
Featured Image: ESPN