Former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson is one of the most successful coaches of all time.
Jackson won 11 championships (six with the Bulls and five with the Lakers) and it has helped him gain legendary status in the sports community. Jackson is yet again receiving praise as ESPN’s ‘The Last Dance’ takes over the sports world.
This legendary status was recognized by Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton, who played under Jackson for all but three seasons of his career. Jackson has been able to coach some of the greatest players of all time and has taken teams from good to true greats under his leadership.
While watching ‘The Last Dance,’ Walton spoke about what made Jackson such a genius and the greatest coach of all time, according to Sam Amick and Joe Vardon of The Athletic:
“It’s what made Phil such a genius and, in my opinion, the greatest coach to ever coach our game,” Walton said. “For him in Chicago to go through that — already been told he’s getting fired after winning (five championships), and Scottie not playing, and Dennis being Dennis. And then to come to L.A. and do it again, it’s incredible. He walked away from the team, retired for a year — however you want to look at it — and then comes back to the same team and then still has the ability to get it figured out, to get everyone back on the same page. Normally when you leave a team, you’re going to go somewhere else because it’s just not going to work where you were. And for him to be able to do that, it’s so impressive.”
Walton was likely just as impressed as all sports fans watching the way Jackson so seamlessly meshed with Dennis Rodman, who is one of the most unique figures in NBA history.
The way Jackson was able to communicate with Rodman in a way that allowed him to lock in and become the greatest rebounder of all time is likely something nobody else could do.
Jackson has likely earned his greatest of all time status by leading Michael Jordan‘s Bulls and Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal‘s Lakers to so many championships. However, his ability to get the most out of his role players may just be his best attribute.