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Phil Jackson happy to be out of Lakers HC job

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  • Phil Jackson happy to be out of Lakers HC job news services
    After putting the finishing touches on a journal of the Lakers' 2003-04 season, Phil Jackson has mailed it off to his publisher. Expected to be published in the fall, Jackson's tale promises to include his unique take on Kobe, Shaq and the organization as a whole.

    But what about the Lakers' former coach himself? Is his NBA story at its end?

    Phil Jackson divested himself of the Lakers, even declining an offer from owner Jerry Buss to become a team vice president.

    "I don't anticipate coaching," Jackson told The Los Angeles Times during a telephone interview Sunday. "I wouldn't rule it out. But I don't anticipate I will. I may coach a group of AAU kids somewhere. But I'm not going to solicit an NBA job."

    Especially not after the way the Lakers' season played out this year.

    "I'm happy I left. It looks like the right time to leave," Jackson said. "They wanted to make some moves to accommodate signing Kobe. We knew they probably wouldn't work if I was coaching the team."

    Even before Lakers owner Jerry Buss made the split with his coach official on June 18, Jackson had decided he didn't believe in the direction the team was moving. When negotiations over his contract extension were postponed in February, Jackson knew, he said, that he was coaching his last season in Los Angeles.

    "I felt I was indifferent, [even] diametrically opposed to the direction they were going," Jackson told The Times -- so much so that he ultimately declined Buss' offer to become a Lakers vice president.

    Still, Jackson didn't think the Lakers needed the sudden changes they are now clearly ready to make. Why break apart a team that was still so strong?

    "We made the Finals and we weren't healthy," he said. "This still was a pretty good team. It would have only gotten better. Gary [Payton] and Karl [Malone] would have only gotten better in the system."

    The direction the Zen Master couldn't follow? Kobe's Way.

    Jackson told the newspaper that he'd gone so far as to intentionally undermine his contract negotiations with Buss -- by asking for at least $10 million per season -- as a way to stall for time, to observe Bryant's state of mind coming back from the summer of 2003, when the superstar guard was charged with felony sexual assault. What Jackson saw prompted him to understand that his fifth year in Los Angeles would be his last.

    "It's hard for me to describe my relationship with Kobe," Jackson said. "I had an exit meeting that went really well with him. I wished him well and hoped he'd find happiness with a team. And happiness playing ball."

    While Jackson insists that after the Lakers' five-game loss to the Pistons in the NBA Finals, when he and Bryant appeared to let bygones be bygones, he seemed to suggest that Kobe himself wasn't at peace.

    "I learned that winning doesn't always make people happy," Jackson told The Times. "There's a lot of back-biting and selfishness and ego gratification. It's not enough for everybody, even when you win, sometimes. I don't know if it's the price of the NBA itself or the fact it takes such a heavy toll on our lives that makes it so difficult for all of us.

    "A championship wasn't enough to make Kobe happy. I noticed it wasn't enough. It was OK. It was a notch in his belt. But it wasn't his end result."

    Still, Jackson would like to see Bryant remain with the Lakers, though he doesn't think the team has much of a chance of returning to the heights it reached while he was coaching -- and while Shaquille O'Neal, who is on the verge of being traded to the Miami Heat, was leading the show.

    "You can't replace Shaquille, there's no doubt about that," Jackson said. "He's a unique player. Los Angeles is going to have to say goodbye to any chance of being a multiple champion in the near future. ... It's a very daunting task without that force in the middle."

    In their time on the team, Jackson seemed to appreciate O'Neal and his gregarious approach to the game and to life.

    The two met up after O'Neal skipped out on his exit meeting. "I think we were able to part with some sense of goodwill and peace," Jackson said. "I told him I hoped he finished his career strong. He thanked me for what we were able to do together."

    Such togetherness has now has been broken, and so irreparably that what's been happening recently in Lakerland makes Jackson cringe.

    "I was disappointed at the way [my situation] was executed," he told The Times. "It makes the organization look fumbling.

    "There was a way to do things with grace and elan."

Related Topics


  • txramsfan
    Phil Jackson back with the Lakers
    by txramsfan

    LOS ANGELES - Phil Jackson is returning to the Los Angeles Lakers following a reconciliation with the team that cut him loose last year after three NBA championships in five seasons. Spokesman John Black said Tuesday the team has rehired Jackson, who was let go by owner Jerry Buss last June 18.

    A news conference was set for 5 p.m. EDT at Staples Center.

    Jackson, who turns 60 in September, has had health issues in the past and underwent an angioplasty two years ago. He told ABC-TV before the opening game of the NBA Finals that he underwent a series of tests to make sure he was healthy.

    Jackson agreed to a three-year contract. Terms were not announced, but it's believed he'll be earning around $10 million per year.

    Jackson's dismissal a year ago set in motion a makeover of massive proportions that proved to be disastrous.

    Dominant big man Shaquille O'Neal demanded a trade and superstar Kobe Bryant opted out of his contract to become a free agent the same day Jackson's five-year run as coach ended.

    The futures of O'Neal and Bryant were decided the following month, with O'Neal being traded to Miami and Bryant staying with the Lakers.

    Rudy Tomjanovich succeeded Jackson, signing a five-year, $30 million contract, but lasted barely half a season, citing health reasons when he suddenly resigned Feb. 2.

    Jackson's name was mentioned as a possible replacement almost immediately despite his having written a book detailing the 2003-04 season in which he called Bryant uncoachable and made other disparaging remarks about the franchise.

    With injuries playing a major role, the Lakers lost 19 of their last 21 games under interim coach Frank Hamblen to finish 34-48 and out of the playoffs for just the second time since 1976.

    Jackson has coached nine NBA championship teams — six with the Chicago Bulls and in his first three years with the Lakers — from 2000-2002. That ties him with former Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach for the most in league history.

    Jackson also has a record 175 postseason victories and is tied for 10th on the NBA's all-time list with 830 wins in just 14 seasons — nine with the Bulls and five with the Lakers. He has a .723 regular-season winning percentage and a .717 postseason winning percentage.

    The Lakers were 285-125 in the regular season and 68-28 in the postseason under Jackson. But this figures to be his biggest challenge since the current team doesn't appear to have what it takes to return to elite status any time soon.

    The Lakers are well over the salary cap, restricting their ability to bring in high-priced free-agent talent for at least two years. Their defense was abysmal last season; they had...
    -06-14-2005, 11:15 AM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Jackson Energized By Adventurous Offseason
    by r8rh8rmike
    Jackson Energized by Adventurous Offseason
    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    Lying on an operating table following back surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back in early April, Steven Jackson couldn’t help but let his mind drift to the idea of football mortality.

    In his six years in the NFL, Jackson had never suffered an injury serious enough that he had to undergo offseason surgery let alone feel any pain of any kind that extended beyond a normal three to four week rest period in January.

    But for the first time, Jackson was going to have an offseason quite different from any of his previous ones.

    It was then and there that Jackson decided to cut it loose and take a different approach to how he’d spend his summer vacation.

    “I had uncertainty in my health for the majority of the offseason and was not really enjoying myself,” Jackson said. “It allowed me to really think about the NFL and sometimes you think you can play this game forever. It was a reality check, one that I was probably taking for granted because I have always been healthy for the most part. This time I had to rehab, go through the operation. I was constantly working and not enjoying myself in my down time. Once the back was feeling good and I was feeling physically fit, I wanted to take advantage of my opportunities to enjoy myself.”


    Each offseason, Jackson makes it a point to try to see at least one new country, if not more. Long before the surgery, Jackson had already planned to venture to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup.

    In addition to South Africa, he’d also planned to make stops in Botswana, Namibia and Zambia. Along the way, Jackson initially figured he’d see the historical sites, tour the land and sample the local food.

    At some point during the back issues, Jackson morphed into the Vinnie Chase character from Entourage who used a back injury of his own to develop a desire for thrill seeking adventures.

    So Jackson called his travel agent and added shark diving, three safaris and sand dune hikes to his itinerary.

    “I just kind of wanted to go into overcoming fears and living outside the lines and boundaries,” Jackson said. “You hear people all the time say that your mind traps you in fear. I kind of tried to step outside of myself and mimic somewhat of a daredevil. This year, I told my travel agent ‘let’s walk on the wild side a little bit.’”

    Of all of the heart pounding exploits on his trip, it was the first one that really set the tone.

    On his first day in Cape Town, Jackson hopped on a boat and was ferried to an area known as Seal Island, where great white sharks are known to congregate in large groups.

    After a bit of trepidation, Jackson climbed into a cage, was hooked up to an...
    -09-07-2010, 03:53 PM
  • RamWraith
    Jackson makes comments on comments
    by RamWraith
    Tuesday, July 27, 2004

    In the past six days, Steven Jackson has experienced an NFL head coach's anger, his 21st birthday and life as a new millionaire.

    And he hasn't even played a down of pro football.

    Jackson begins final preparations for his rookie season Wednesday, when the St. Louis Rams' training camp begins in Macomb, Ill. He has a freshly inked, $7 million contract and a new appreciation for the high-profile business he has joined.

    Last Wednesday, Rams coach Mike Martz blasted Jackson in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, painting him as no-show at workouts, calling him "far behind" and saying Jackson would have to shake off the "glitz and glamour of being the No. 1 guy" and go to work.

    Jackson called Martz's comments shocking, but said the coach merely has not gotten to know him.

    In fact, NFL rules prohibited Jackson, the Rams' top draft pick at No. 24 overall, from attending full-squad practice sessions last May because Oregon State's senior class had yet to graduate. On Monday, Jackson explained that he skipped the Rams' rookie mini-camp this month because he did not want to injure himself before he was under contract.

    "The few times I had a chance to talk to him, he comes across as a stern guy," Jackson said of Martz. "I haven't really felt him out, and I don't think he's felt me out, either. Because the way he portrayed me in the paper and in the media . . . everyone who's gotten a chance to know me knows I'm not like that.

    "I don't shy away from any workload or anything like that."

    After Martz's outburst, Jackson encouraged his agent, Rocky Arceneaux, to get a deal done quickly. On Saturday, Jackson and his parents were watching TV in Arceneaux's office as he negotiated Jackson's contract by phone.

    "We were all sitting in the next room while Rocky was negotiating," Jackson said. "And when he came out and told us the numbers, it was kind of like watching someone on 'The Price is Right.' "

    The price was right: Jackson has a five-year, $7 million deal, including a $4 million signing bonus.

    Jackson and Arceneaux have the same birthday -- July 22 -- so they had much to celebrate when they went out for dinner Saturday night. Jackson had spent his actual birthday at a low-key dinner with his parents, in town from Las Vegas.

    The weekend was full of emotion. On Friday, he learned of the death of Justin Williams, the Oregon State redshirt freshman killed in an auto accident on Interstate 5 near Wilsonville.

    "I was actually at a party that night and I got the phone call from (former OSU players) Lawrence Turner and Richard Seigler," Jackson said. "They called to tell me that, and I immediately left. It was devastating,...
    -07-27-2004, 06:35 AM
  • MauiRam
    Jackson gets cleaned ..
    by MauiRam
    Down and dirty

    By Michael Silver, Yahoo! Sports

    Coming off a frustrating, injury-marred '07 campaign and approaching a contract year that could trigger his becoming the NFL's highest-paid runner, Jackson learned last month that agent Gary Uberstine had fired him . Upon reading an email from Uberstine informing him that their representation agreement was being terminated, Jackson says, "I was in a state of shock. Where was the loyalty? The crazy thing is, I'm not a high-maintenance guy. Gary's done a lot of good in my life, and I at least thanked him for doing it before I started negotiating with the Rams. But I didn't see that coming at all."

    Players switch agents all the time, but because they're almost invariably the ones initiating the breakups, Uberstine's 'Dear Steven' letter took on a man-bites-dog novelty. Throw in the fact that Jackson, whose breakout 2006 season stamped him as one of the league's brightest offensive stars, stands to land a lucrative long-term deal that will likely carry a seven-figure commission, and the whole thing seems downright stunning.

    What prompted the move? Jackson says Uberstine was upset about the player's decision to use a former associate of Uberstine's as his marketing representative, among things. "It was a power move," says Jackson, who has since signed with Eugene Parker. "It was his way of saying that I need him more than he needs me."

    Uberstine, in a telephone conversation on Thursday, declined to discuss the situation in specific terms, saying of Jackson, "I wish him and his sister Rhonda (an informal business adviser to the halfback) the very best, and I really don't want to go into the factors that went into my decision. I have no doubt that he will soon be the highest-paid running back in football."

    To Jackson, such an eventuality is no sure thing. After St. Louis's disastrous 2007 season, in which the Rams lost their first eight games (four of which Jackson missed with a partially torn left groin) and sputtered to a 3-13 record that put second-year coach Scott Linehan's job in jeopardy, he sees his and his team's futures as shrouded in uncertainty.

    "It's a one-year bid for everybody," Jackson says. "It could be Scott's last year, and my last year, and even the franchise is in jeopardy – the team could get sold and leave St. Louis. There's a lot riding on this year, and we all know that. Just as much as the Rams need me, I need them."

    A 6-2, 231-pound specimen who runs with speed, power and elusiveness, Jackson took over the offense formerly known as the Greatest Show on Turf in '06 after future Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk went on injured reserve with what turned out to be a career-ending knee injury. Jackson responded by gaining 2,334 yards from scrimmage, the fifth-highest total in NFL history, with 90 receptions,...
    -06-20-2008, 01:17 PM
  • MauiRam
    Steven Jackson Enters Big Year ..
    by MauiRam
    Enters Big Year
    Saturday, May 10, 2008

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer
    The official site of the St. Louis Rams - Article

    After a 2007 season that was as difficult for him as it was the team, Steven Jackson has turned his full attention to 2008 and beyond. Upon arrival at this weekend’s minicamp in St. Louis, Jackson has officially embarked on an important year for the team but also for his career. Jackson is now in the final season of his contract and the Rams have made retaining him as one of, if not the, key cog in the offense for years to come.

    Let there be no doubt, Jackson made it clear Saturday that he wants that future to be in St. Louis. “I am pretty sure we will get something done,” Jackson said. “This is definitely where I want to be. I’m playing football. I leave that to my agent and the front office. I think I have been a good person on and off the field so I expect to be rewarded.”

    The Rams and Gary Uberstine, Jackson’s agent, have yet to have any substantial discussions toward re-signing Jackson. But that doesn’t mean it’s not on the immediate agenda for the Rams. Coach Scott Linehan said at the NFL Combine in February that retaining Jackson was one of the team’s top priorities. “It’s important for this franchise,” Linehan said. “It is easier said than done. We are working on that and have had open, quality discussions with that but like you said, with the idea that we have a number of needs and areas we need to address with our team, how you make that contract work and fit it in is all part of it. I have no doubt that will get done. We recognize he is a special player and we know to win next year we are going to need him playing at a high level.”Of course, the Rams have some other negotiations to deal with such as getting top pick Chris Long signed in the near future. But the conversations with Jackson will likely commence in the not so distant future. In the meantime, Jackson is doing his best to return to his breakout 2006 form when he led the league in yards from scrimmage and made his first trip to the Pro Bowl.

    Admittedly, Jackson’s 2007 was a bit of a disappointment coming off his finest pro season. Jackson set a goal of 2,500 total yards for the season and fell well short of it with 1,273 yards. Not that reaching his lofty goal – which would have been a NFL record – would have been easy but countless variables conspired against him in his pursuit of greatness.
    At the top of the list was a variety of nagging injuries that cost him to miss four games and most of another. A groin injury cost Jackson four contests after he played the first three games of the season. In his first game back from that injury against Cleveland on Oct. 28, Jackson appeared to be back to full strength. But a big first quarter was all he could muster as back spasms sent him to the sideline again. Even after his return, though, finding room to run was...
    -05-10-2008, 10:28 PM