Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Philip Douglas Jackson (born September 17, 1945 in Deer Lodge, Montana) was the head coach of the NBA Chicago Bulls from 1989 to 1998, and of the Los Angeles Lakers from 1999 to 2004. Jackson has a total of 11 NBA championship rings: two as a player with the New York Knicks, six as coach of the Bulls, and three as coach of the Lakers. His nine NBA championships as a head coach ties him with Red Auerbach for the all-time lead in that category. He is well known for his approach to coaching, which is influenced by Eastern philosophy, notably Zen.
Jackson was raised in a strict Pentecostal home; both of his parents were ministers. Most of his early childhood was spent in Montana; his parents later moved the family to Williston, North Dakota, where he attended high school and was a multi-sport star. Jackson went on to play basketball at the University of North Dakota. In 1967, he was drafted by the Knicks, and found that the skills that served him well at the small-college level were all but useless in the NBA. While he was a good all-around athlete, with unusually long arms, he was limited as a shooter, and did not have great speed. He compensated for his physical limitations by sheer intelligence and extremely hard work, especially on defense, and eventually established himself as a fan favorite and one of the NBA's leading substitutes. He was a key member of Knicks teams that won NBA titles in 1970 and 1973. Soon after the second title, several key starters of the championship teams retired, eventually forcing Jackson into the starting lineup, where his limitations were exposed. He retired from play in 1980.
In the following years, he mainly coached in lower-level leagues, notably the Continental Basketball Association and the BSN of Puerto Rico. He regularly sought an NBA job, but was invariably turned down; during his playing years, he had acquired a reputation for being sympathetic to the counterculture, which may have scared off potential NBA employers.
He finally earned an NBA job in 1987 as an assistant with the Bulls. Two years later, he would be elevated to the head coaching job, and the rest was history.
As time went by, the tension between Jackson and Bulls general manager Jerry Krause, who had originally hired him, grew ever more extreme. Some examples of the tension include:
- During the summer of 1997, Krause's stepdaughter married. All of the Bulls assistant coaches and their wives were invited to the wedding, as was Tim Floyd , then the head coach at Iowa State, whom Krause was openly courting as Jackson's successor (and would eventually succeed Jackson). Jackson and his wife were not invited, and Krause did not tell them of the snub; they found out from the wife of assistant Bill Cartwright.
- During contract negotiations for Jackson's final year with the Bulls, when the topic of a potential extension past the 1997-98 season came up, Krause reportedly told Jackson, "I don't care if you go 82-and-0, you're f***ing gone."
On June 18, 2004, three days after suffering his first ever loss in an NBA finals series (against the Detroit Pistons), Jackson announced that he would leave his position with the Lakers. Jackson has authored The Last Season, which describes his point of view of the tensions that surrounded the 2003-2004 Lakers team.
Jackson's main tactical contribution, both with the Bulls and with the Lakers, was the modernization of the triangle offense. He was also noted as a gifted handler of difficult players, notably Dennis Rodman.
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