Knocking On Red’s Door

By Eric D. Graham
Updated: June 8, 2008

NORTH CAROLINA. — Phil Jackson has nine championships.

Hall of Fame coach Red Auerbach also has nine championships, but if Kobe and the Lakers defeat the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals, Jackson will surpass Auerbach, and may go down as the “greatest coach” in NBA history.

But is he really the “greatest” coach or has he been blessed to have coached some great athletes. We like to say, no, it’s the “Triangle” offense that makes Jackson so great?

But he didn’t invent it. Or is it his eastern philosophy that makes him so smart. But we don’t believe in it. Lord knows, most of us are Christians.

So what is it?

Currently, Phil Jackson in his coaching career has a impressive winning record of 976-418. While coaching nine season in the “windy” city of Chicago, he won six championships before moving to sunny California where he won three more titles in eight years.

So what’s the secret to his success? I know you are dying to know the answer.

While in Chicago, Jackson had the “greatest basketball player on the the planet” Michael Jordan on his team. What more can I say? Oh yeah, let’s not forget Scottie Pippen.

As Jackson moved to LA, he had the most dominating center in the NBA named Shaquille O’Neal on his team. Let’s not forget, he also had a young Kobe Bryant as well.

It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out Coach Jackson’s success. So maybe, we shouldn’t say Jackson is the “greatest coach” in NBA history. Maybe, he’s the best facilitator in the league’s history.

A simple definition of a facilitator is one who makes things easier.

Jackson’s philosophy definitely made it easier for Jordan by given him Scottie Pippens. Jackson also made it easier for Jordan by given him an option to pass the ball out of the double team by inquiring players like John Paxson, Steve Kerr, and Craig Hodges.

Jackson, even made it easier for Jordan by finding high-energy players like Dennis Rodman and Cliff Levingston to run the break and do all the dirty work down-low.

Even in L.A., Jackson made it easier for Shaq by giving him Kobe.

So, here’s the formula to success: One great player plus a great facilitator equals a championship ring. Now let’s fast foward to the here and now, because the formula has not changed.

With the Lakers taking on the Celtics for the NBA Finals, Jackson is ready to win another championship because the 2007-08 Lakers actually mirror the championship Bulls.

For instance, Kobe is Michael Jordan. Lamar Odom is Scottie Pippen. Vladimir Radmanovic, Derek Fisher, Sasha Vujacic represent the three-point sharp-shooting of Craig Hodges, Steve Kerr, and John Paxson.

And last but not least, Ronny Turiaf and Luke Walton walk in the footsteps of Dennis Rodman and Cliff Levingston. Pau Gasol, however, is the missing link.

But remember, the formula I have given you. It’s simple mathematics. One great player (Bryant) plus a great facilitator (Jackson) equals a championship ring.

It’s the blueprint to success.