Phil Jackson, the coach with the greatest all-time winning percentage, has officially signed with the New York Knicks. The long time Laker and Bulls coach has made a decisive move to return to New York, where he has been quoted as saying he had “unfinished business.” Jackson was a part of the last championship win in the Big Apple back in 1973.
At 7:47 pm, March 12, 2014, Greg Anthony from NBA TV, tweeted that Phil Jackson had officially been brought on board with the New York Knicks. The New York Knicks are the most valued franchise in the league at $3 billion, and have some star talent in one of the leagues most prolific scorers, Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks also have a defensive anchor in their center Tyson Chandler, and it is widely known that Phil Jackson has an affinity for big men and helping them reach their full potential.
Although Phil Jackson is not being brought on as head-coach, he will certainly be a major influence on every player on the team and all basketball operations going forward. His front-office position allows Phil to be completely enveloped with the team but still stay somewhat out of the day-to-day spotlight of New York; to the extent that is even possible. Phil will also still be in a position to toy with the media, providing his philosophical inquiries and half-wise, half-controversial comments. Jackson is also known for incorporating eastern practices from zen buddhism and other peaceful cultural teachings in his learning process. With the Lakers, he was often seen patrolling the locker-room before and after practice burning special sage and handing out philosophical books to each player. Each book Phil gave was specific to the player, as Phil believed it would help their games.
While the signing of Phil Jackson has only just become official, the media has been wondering aloud for some time now about what he would be able to bring to New York, and the Knicks organization. At the very least, he will bring with him 11 coaching championship rings and 2 player rings, 13 pieces of jewelry total. The first two player rings were won with the New York Knicks in 1970 and 1973, to which the Knicks have yet to achieve in the following four decades. Phil would then go on to win 2 3-peats with the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan in the 1990’s compiling an impressive six rings. Jackson would also achieve another impressive three-peat with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal and the Lakers in 2000, 2001, and 2002. After taking a step back from the game and then returning, Jackson won 2 more rings with the Lakers, lead by Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in 2009 and 2010.
Skeptics have been arguing over the past few days that Carmelo Anthony is not the same caliber player of the likes of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Not necessarily in the talent that they possess, but in their ability to be coached, and simultaneously lead their teams. It is evident that Jackson has an immense puzzle to decode with the struggling New York Nicks, but at least with Jackson on board the team has a significant likelihood of becoming an Eastern Conference powerhouse. Phil Jackson has officially signed to bring his basketball mind to the New York Knicks, giving them one of the greatest basketball figures in recent history. His signing will be on the minds of everyone in basketball for a little while, as they now must consider what effect this will have on the prospects of the team going forward.
Commentary by Zane Foley