Phil Jackson: Stranger Than Fiction

After an unsuccessful trip to the NBA Finals in 2008, the Lakers won the title in 2009. It was the tenth title of Phil Jackson’s career, allowing him to finally overtake Red Auerbach as the head coach with the most NBA championships in league history. All the debate over who held the more valuable 9 titles was over. 22 years after being hired as an assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls, Phil Jackson was the winningest coach in league history. Unreal.

Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson gestures during a practice session in Barcelona October 6, 2010. The Lakers will play against Barcelona in an NBA Europe Live basketball game at Palau Sant Jordi on Thursday. REUTERS/Albert Gea (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

When the Lakers won the title in 2009 there were whispers around the league at what it could mean. It wasn’t exactly a secret that Jackson seemed to have developed a habit when it came to NBA titles.

Speculation surrounding this seemingly impossible scenario strengthened after Jackson led the Lakers to the title again in 2010, his eleventh as a coach.

As if his resume wasn’t impressive enough, Jackson added a bit more to his legacy early in the 2010-2011 season. With a win against the Phoenix Suns on an otherwise meaningless Friday night, Phil Jackson became the fastest coach in league history to reach 1,100 wins. He accomplished the feat in a mere 1,560 games with Chicago and Los Angeles. It seems that everything about Phil Jackson is hard to believe.

Nobody knows what the future holds, and you can only learn so much from the past. With Phil Jackson, however, you almost know what you’re going to get, which is what is so amazing about the situation. When you consider just how unlikely this story is, the more remarkable it becomes.

Just how does an oversized youth from Deer Lodge, Montana turn into the face of Chicago and later Los Angeles? How does a former reserve player with a career average of 6.7 points per game demand the respect of a man who scored 81 in a single night?

The mystery and aura of Phil Jackson is what makes this story so much better. Jackson has said it himself, multiple times. It’s simply unreal.

Next: Journey to the Ring

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