In the 11 seasons spent with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant and head coach Phil Jackson won five NBA championships together.
While this will be Bryant’s final year, Jackson is currently the President of the New York Knicks as he tries to rebuild them into contenders.
In the 90-87 loss to the Knicks, it marked Bryant’s final game against the franchise. Following the game, Bryant had high praise for his former coach according to Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Kobe on Phil Jackson: "In my opinion, he’s the greatest coach in any profession ever."
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) March 14, 2016
With 11 championships as the head coach of the Lakers and Chicago Bulls, it is difficult to argue with Bryant’s opinion. While many have tried to criticize Jackson for having top talent in Bryant, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Shaquille O’Neal, managing their personalities would be a challenge for most coaches.
While there has been speculation surrounding Jackson returning to the Lakers, it will be interesting to see which franchise is able to return to championship contention first.
For the Lakers, they are currently armed with a top-three protected pick and a projected $65 million in cap space to pursue free agents. With a young core established, the future is bright for the post-Kobe Bryant era.