Some of his info is very revealing and explains a lot about how that season ended. Here’s what I learned:
- Phil Jackson was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March 2011. He told his team: “This has been a tough period for me. And I don’t know if it has affected my ability to give 100 percent to what I normally give you guys. But I know there’ve been times when I’ve been more withdrawn than usual.”
- Pau Gasol was dealing with family issues, not a breakup and that’s what caused his lackadaisical play in the series.
- Phil didn’t think it was a good idea for Mitch Kupchak to fire the Lakers staff, with the exception of Gary Vitti, before the end of the season. Again, Phil doesn’t hold back in his books, so who knows what this will mean for their relationship going forward should Phil get some sort of management position in LA (yes, I’m one of those Lakers fans that’s keeping hope alive). Publicly calling people out rarely solves problems.
- Despite Phil calling Kobe Bryant “uncoachable” and referring to Michael Jordan as like a son (leaving Kobe out, even though Kobe has said Phil was like a father to him), Kobe got much of his leadership style from Phil. Kobe said, “It’s not just a basketball way of leadership, but a philosophy of how to live. Being present and enjoying each moment as it comes. Letting my children develop at their own pace and not trying to force them into doing something they’re not really comfortable with, but just nurturing and guiding them along. I learned that all from Phil.”
- Kobe and Derek Fisher convinced Phil to take a pay cut. Hmm… Wonder if Kobe will take some of his own advice to help with the Lakers’ luxury tax next year.
- And finally, the Lakers lost because their hearts just weren’t in it. Jackson wrote, “Fatigue was a big factor. It takes a lot of grit — physically, psychologically and spiritually — to win one championship. By the time you’re shooting for your third in a row, you’ve played so many games, it gets harder and harder to tap into the inner resources that make winning possible. What’s more, many of the key individuals on the team — including me — were distracted by personal issues that made it difficult for us to compete with the same invincible spirit we’d known before.”