During the three-peat with the Los Angeles Lakers, Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant didn’t see eye-to-eye. The relationship between the two got bad enough that Jackson dubbed Kobe “uncoachable” and leading to the legendary leaving the team in 2004.
Fortunately, in his second stint with the Lakers, Kobe and Jackson were inseparable. Both Jackson and Kobe became quite fond of one another and as a result helped lead the team to two consecutive titles before Jackson left the team once again in 2011.
In an interview with Steve Serby of the New York Post, Jackson was asked about players in other professional sports that he admired. Jackson mentioned Peyton Manning and Derek Jeter, but ended with more praise for Kobe:
I admire Peyton Manning because of his headiness, his ability to play under control, his understanding of the game, his dedication to the sport … We’ve all watched Derek [Jeter], I’m sure people are just relishing in the last few games they’re getting to watch him play, but he’s had a wonderful, remarkable career … Kobe Bryant obviously is in my sport, but there’s nobody that’s more dedicated to conditioning and preparation and self-control and … absorbing the pain of all that workout than Kobe Bryant.
Jackson also talked about Carmelo Anthony and if Kobe would be a good model of success for the New York Knicks superstar. Phil immediately shot down the notion claiming that no one can reach that level of commitment, not even Michael Jordan could compare.
Needless to say, Jackson still has a great deal of respect for the five-time NBA champion and continues to tip his hat for Kobe’s approach to the game.
As for Carmelo, Jackson hopes the triangle offense will benefit the veteran forward next season. Kobe’s former teammate, Derek Fisher, takes on the task of leading the Knicks moving forward using the offense that Jackson made famous with the Chicago Bulls and Lakers.[divide]
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