Phil Jackson is a name that any NBA fan can recognize. He’s known for exceptional leadership skills and the ability to create cohesive teams that are simply built to win.
From his early life to his remarkable coaching career, let’s dive into the Phil Jackson biography to help you understand more about the man, the myth, and the legend.
Born on September 17, 1945, in Deer Lodge, Montana, Philip Douglas Jackson grew up in a small town. Jackson’s love for basketball began at a young age, and he quickly developed his skills on the court.
The high school has a complex named after him and he actually attracted the attention of numerous baseball scouts.
Jackson attended the University of North Dakota, where he played for the Fighting Sioux and showcased his basketball prowess.
After college, Phil Jackson was drafted by the New York Knicks in the 1967 Draft as a power forward. He was a smart player and worked hard on defense despite lacking a lot of offensive skill. JACKSON became one of the league’s most popular sixth-men at the time but didn’t play too many minutes.
Jackson played two additional seasons with the New Jersey Nets from 1979-1980 before retiring from the NBA and taking his intelligence to the sideline as a coach.
While Phil Jackson did play in the NBA, most people recognize him as a Lakers coach. But, when did Phil Jackson coach the Lakers and what other teams did he coach? Let’s take a look.
New Jersey Nets
Following his retirement as a player, Jackson transitioned into coaching. His coaching journey began as an assistant coach for the New Jersey Nets. However, it was his arrival as the head coach of the Chicago Bulls in 1989 that marked the start of his extraordinary success.
Jackson’s tenure with the Bulls coincided with the arrival of Michael Jordan, forming a partnership that would change the landscape of basketball.
Under Jackson’s guidance, the Bulls established themselves as a dominant force, winning six NBA championships in the 1990s (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, and 1998). Jackson’s innovative coaching strategies, emphasis on teamwork, and the implementation of the Triangle Offense contributed to the Bulls’ unparalleled success.
Los Angeles Lakers
In 1999, theLos Angeles Lakers hired Phil Jackson as head coach. Paired with superstar players such as Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, Jackson led the Lakers to three consecutive NBA championships from 2000-2002. His ability to manage egos and foster a winning culture played a pivotal role in the team’s success.
After a brief hiatus, Jackson returned to coaching the Lakers in 2005 and continued to add to his championship legacy. From 2008-2010, Jackson guided the team to back-to-back titles, solidifying his status as one of the greatest coaches in NBA history. With a total of 11 championships as a head coach, Phil Jackson stands atop the record books as the most successful coach in NBA history.
After coaching, Phil Jackson rejoined the Knicks as the president of basketball operations. He made quite a few questionable decisions like trading Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler to the Mavericks and he did set a franchise record for straight losses with 13 in 2015.
The Knicks ultimately decided to part ways with Jackson in 2017.
Phil Jackson FAQs
Our Phil Jackson biography wouldn’t be complete without answering a handful of common questions:
How many rings does Phil Jackson have as a coach?
Phil Jackson has an astonishing 11 NBA championship rings, six with the Chicago Bulls and five with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Is Phil Jackson in the Hall of Fame?
Yes, Phil Jackson was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007. His remarkable coaching career and contributions to the game earned him this prestigious honor.
When did Phil Jackson retire?
Phil Jackson retired from coaching after the 2010-2011 NBA season with the Los Angeles Lakers. Since then, he has focused on his personal life and writing.