Is Phil Jackson the greatest coach in sports history in the USA?

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  1. Stevennix2001 profile image87
    Stevennix2001posted 8 years ago

    Well, you can make a strong case for him that's for sure.  Then again, you could argue that he's never been a great x's and o's guy because he's always had the luxury of having an assistant coach in Tex Winter that practically invented and defined the infamous Triangle offense of today's NBA.  Plus, Phil's never been a hands on coach when dealing with players, as you'll never see him coaching rebuilding lottery teams, as he tends to favor teams with favorable pieces to build around first. 

    However, you can't argue with the results of winning 11 titles collectively with two different teams, and owning the record for all time winning percentage among nba coaches in league history.  Hell, there's very few other coaches in other sports that would even begin to challenge Jackson in terms of titles. 

    Therefore, I leave it to you.  Do you think Phil Jackson will go down in history as the greatest coach in not only NBA history, but arguably the greatest coach in North American history period?  Do you think he was literally that good of a coach?  Or do you think that's a stretch?  What are you're thoughts on this?

  2. LakeShow T profile image75
    LakeShow Tposted 8 years ago

    I haven't really thought of all of the great coaches in all of the sports, so I'm not prepared to get into that argument yet. Especially considering all of the different criteria people would consider in defining what makes for the greatest coach.

    What I'll say for now is this: Jordan, Kobe, ShaQ, and Pippen never won a championship without him. And from what I gather, all of his former players loved playing for him. That includes Kobe, who Jackson had criticized in a book during his first retirement from the Lakers.

    Jackson is likely the most unconventional coach in any league's history. It is astonishing how calm he is during any situation in any game. As a fan you could be screaming at the TV during a bad stretch of a game and there's Phil sitting there like he doesn't care while an opponent just put down a 14-0 run on his team in the playoffs. It's unreal how calm he is.

    He's also great at mind games. I'd venture to guess that no coach has ever been fined as much as him for criticizing officials. Most of that does not even speak of all of the somewhat subliminal messages he sends. That's part of what makes him the Zen Master.  And much of that ends up paying off the later playoff series go on.

    He also has various unconventional ways of motivating players. I think he's played a lot of movie scenes for his team to draw inspiration. He also motivates his players spiritual ways. Just very unconventional.

    There's really never been anyone like this guy. 11 Championship rings in the last 20 years is an unfathomable accomplishment. Let's remember, the Lakers were rebuilding when he took them over after his first retirement. I think he deserves some credit for coaching Kobe into a player who realized he needed to use his skills make his teammates better if they were to win, rather than trying to do it all himself. He convinced Jordan of the same thing. Those points should not be understated.

  3. prettydarkhorse profile image61
    prettydarkhorseposted 8 years ago

    I think he is one of the most celebrated coach even if you look at other sports. His demeanor and wry remarks makes him unique in coaching style and as a person. His philosophy as a Zen believer makes him calm. I believe that even if you surround him with less caliber players, he can still win.

  4. Stevennix2001 profile image87
    Stevennix2001posted 8 years ago

    All I will say is this.  To quote Emmitt Smith once when he was asked if he should be considered the greatest running back of all time when he broke the rushing record, "I may be the best statistically, but that doesn't mean that I'm the best over all."  I tend to believe that about Phil Jackson.  Say what you want about the guy, but the reality is even when he went back to the Lakers, when they were rebuilding, they still had some good pieces to build around.  He's never been on a team coaching where they virtually had nothing and build it up from the ground up like Larry Brown and other coaches have.  Plus, as I stated earlier, he's never been a great x's and o's guy, as he's had the luxury of running the triangle offense; while being assisted by the guy who practically invented it in Tex Winters. 

    However, I do agree with Lakeshow in that he's a great motivator, and certainly can bring out the best in any team that has potential to win a title.  there's no doubt about that.  However, he's not the best overall coach in the NBA if you ask me.  Sure, he's the best statistically, but that doesn't equate to being the best over all.  I will say this though.  If i did own a championship veteran team that needed help getting over the hump of winning that ever so elusive title, then Jackson would be my first choice.  Having said that, if I had a team where a teacher figure was needed, then I'd probably go with either Larry Brown or Doc Rivers, as they know how to develop young talent.  It would basically depend on what kind of coach my team needed but if all i needed was a coach to win a title, then phil would be my guy for sure.

  5. LakeShow T profile image75
    LakeShow Tposted 8 years ago

    I think Doug Collins is a great teacher of basketball. You can tell by how articulate of an announcer he was. Not to mention the fact that he has improved every team he has taken over in his first season. He's really good with the younger players...Michael Jordan, Grant Hill, and now Jrue Holiday to name a few.

    That's where I think he differs from Larry Brown. Larry Brown was a little too old school for his last couple of coaching gigs. Stephen Jackson could not stand him because Brown entered this season basically telling his team they would not make the playoffs this year, even though they had the year before. Brown lost the Bobcats with that.

    Another one of the best coaches is Rick Adelman, who may actually become the next coach of the Lakers.

    Another great coach that comes to mind is Bill Belichick of the Patriots. Whether you like him or not, he has been able to plug in no-name players and make them work in his system for years. It's amazing how they've gotten rid of so many key players through the years and they just rebuild in a years time. He's also able to take players with bad reputations and make them buy in to his system without a problem. That happens because they respect him. Whether it be with young players or players who are well past their primes, his players buy in and they win. Not to mention that he has 3 Super Bowl wins.

    1. Stevennix2001 profile image87
      Stevennix2001posted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Well I certainly agree with you about Bill Bilichick, as he seems to be one of the few NFL coaches that can not only coach with the best of them, he's also known for developing and scouting for talent out of nowhere.  Very similar to how Gregg Popovich does every year for the Spurs.  It seems like every time they lose key players, Popovich can always scout very well for players and manage to get top quality talent for bargain prices.  Not an easy thing to do considering the NBA has guaranteed contracts versus the NFL. 

      As for Larry Brown, I do think you have a point when it comes to the Bobcats, but I highly disagree with you about the Knicks situation.  If you honestly watched that situation closely, you'd realize that he was used by Isiah Thomas as the fall guy for that team.  If anything, Larry Brown even said that team had a lot of bad eggs on it, and it needed to clean house.  Of course, this caused James Dolan (the dumbest owner in professional sports) and Thomas to label Brown as a quitter, and claim that Brown was just too old school for the team.  Of course, the irony is that they eventually came to AGREE with Brown, as they did ultimately ended up cleaning house with the Knicks organization.  Getting rid of pre-madonnas like Stephon Marbury and such.  That leads me to believe that ANY COACH would've been doomed to failure in that given situation, as it was fairly obvious Thomas and Dolan were more concerned with covering their own collective a**es than actually helping the team win.  No, Brown was nothing more than the patsy in Knicks organization, so Thomas could save his own a** and nothing more.

      1. LakeShow T profile image75
        LakeShow Tposted 8 years agoin reply to this


        You're right. I usually go off the top of my head with many of my points and arguments. I still had the Bobcats situation freshly in my mind and that was a disaster as we know. I also remembered all of the trouble he had with Allen Iverson, which led me to believe his coaching philosophies were old-school even a decade ago. 

        I had totally forgotten about the Knicks debacle, but now do remember it very well now that you have refreshed my memory. And I do agree with the well-founded points you made in regard to Brown's situation with the Knicks.

        You also had a great point about Gregg Popovich. Let me say first, I HATE the Spurs. But you're darned right I respect them and coach Popovich. One would be hard-pressed to think of a better coach in terms of purely coaching (handling game situations) and evaluating talent and how to mesh different skill-sets into a great team concept. He also did a great job this season in changing the Spurs style of play in their transition from a inside/outside offensive and elite defensive team playing around the strengths of Duncan into an up tempo drive and kick offensive team that revolved around Ginobili and Parker this season.  Coach Pops deserves some credit here as well and credit to you for bringing him into the argument.

        1. Stevennix2001 profile image87
          Stevennix2001posted 8 years agoin reply to this

          Thanks.  To be honest, I'm not much of a Spurs fan either, even though I live in Texas.  No, I've always been more of a Bulls fan as you can tell.  lol  I do agree with you that Rick Adelman should be in the conversation, the only problem is that since he hasn't had too much success in terms of titles, I doubt he'd be in the discussion at this time.  Although, I think if he was in the right situation like Doc Rivers was, then I can definitely see Rick moving more into the discussion, as he certainly is one of the most under rated coaches in the NBA next to Avery Johnson and Rick Carlisle.

          1. LakeShow T profile image75
            LakeShow Tposted 8 years agoin reply to this

            Haha. Well, I've got to say this first off. Go Bulls against the Heat!

            I just threw Adelman in there because he has flat-out made his teams better. He has also changed with the times:

            - He coached the Blazers to the finals in 1990 and 1992 (I believe)
            - He built an outstanding Sacramento Kings team that could have won one or more NBA titles had it not been for the Lakers and some potential fixing by the NBA.
            - He did a great job with the Rockets in my opinion despite constant injury issues to Yao and T-Mac. Remember he took that Rockets team to game 7 against the Lakers with Ron Artest as their best player. He also adapted that team from a gritty defensive team in the last few years into a very good offensive team this season despite even more injuries and changes in personnel.

            He was inexcusably let go from the Rockets after the season much to the players' dismay, but perhaps to the benefit of the Lakers who are considering him as their next coach along with Brian Shaw (who played for and assisted Phil for the last several years). I think Kobe wants Shaw but I'm almost hoping for Adelman.

          2. LakeShow T profile image75
            LakeShow Tposted 8 years agoin reply to this

            As for Avery Johnson, I thought at the time as though he was prematurely excused from the Mavs despite holding a very high winning percentage. However, I personally think he did a lousy job with the Nets this season. I do not think the players enjoyed playing for him. What in the world was he doing with Troy Murphy?? Brook Lopez also regressed this season. His player rotations were wacky at times, where he seemingly had a new player in his doghouse every week. Some of the media and former Net Devin Harris have also referred to Avery as a "dictator".

            We'll see how long that gig lasts for him. I do think he was a good hire for the Nets under the Prokhorov regime that seems to look for big names more than anything else, but I think they put all their eggs in one basket by trading for Deron Williams, who will likely leave after next season anyways. LoL.

            1. Stevennix2001 profile image87
              Stevennix2001posted 8 years agoin reply to this

              Well I think it's probably too early to judge how Avery is doing with the Nets after only one season, but I think the problem is that Prokhorov expects his team to immediately compete for a title within the next few years, as he's already guaranteed it.  the only problem is that there's no guarantee that Derron is going to stay there or if anyone else will want to join him there; even if the franchise moves to Brooklyn within the next few years as planned.

  6. Maembe profile image58
    Maembeposted 8 years ago

    The greatest coach of all time has to football coach, simply because it requires more strategy than any other sport by a mile.

    1. LakeShow T profile image75
      LakeShow Tposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      That's where I think Bill Belichick fits in. There are a number of coaches who were successful to the tune of 2-4 Super Bowls while coaching the same elite players during their championship eras. However, as I stated earlier in the thread, coach Belichick has maintained just over a decade of sustained excellence with Tom Brady and a revolving door of players year in and year out at every other position.

  7. optimus grimlock profile image59
    optimus grimlockposted 8 years ago

    I would say top 3 all time. Any arguement aginst that would have to be reallllly detailed to prove otherwise!

  8. Richard83 profile image66
    Richard83posted 8 years ago

    I agree with Optimus. Top 3 I would say. He is among the best of the best. If he went to another team and won one title, I would vote him the best. He had mad talent on the Bulls and Lakers. He didn't leave Chicago for no reason. He saw Jordan #2.


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