Jackson’s Career Comes to End but His Legacy Remains

Jacksons Career Comes to End but His Legacy Remains


After winning a total of 13 rings as both a player and a coach, Phil Jackson has come to a point in his career when none of his fingers ever have to be bare. It is at this point that he has made the decision to retire. He has surpassed the legendary Red Auerbach’s feat of 9 titles, and possesses the highest winning percentage of any Hall of Fame coach, a .704. He has every right to close his career with a sense of pride and accomplishment, despite the ugly way it ended.

Watching his back-to-back championship defending Lakers team crumble at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Semi-Finals probably wasn’t how Jackson foresaw his run coming to an end. Not only was it the first sweep in a seven game series Jackson ever saw one of his teams suffer through, but it also displayed one of the darker sides of a Jackson coached team facing adversity. A 36 point deficit and two ejections certainly are not typical of the teams he has coached throughout his career, and the way he went out should not be compared to the work he had done in years past.

His tenure in the NBA began as a forward for the New York Knicks, earning his first and second rings in 1970 and 1973. As a coach, however, is when he earned the majority of his rings. In Chicago, he led Michael Jordan and the Bulls to two separate “three-peats”, one from the 1991 season to the 1993 season; the others coming after Jordan’s fist retirement from the 1996 season to the 1998 season. He then moved on the LA where he coached the likes of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, and won titles from 2000-2002. The team went through numerous roster changes and by 2008, Bryant had a new supporting cast around him containing names like Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom. By 2009, Jackson had the team back to winning championships. By this point he had built quite a reputation for winning, and had gotten his name into the debate of best coaches of all time along with others such as John Wooden, and Vince Lombardi, and Auerbach.

Jackson will go down in NBA history, and will forever be in the ranks of best coaches in the game. The Lakers’ disappointing 2011 season puts a dark shadow over their tremendous seasons of the past, but soon it will be forgotten and all that will remain will be the fiver banners hanging on the rafters of the Staples Center that Jackson won for Los Angeles.