If nothing else, Phil’s dedication to teaching the game to his players sits above that of all other coaches. In the 2001 Finals against the Sixers, Phil paid extensive attention to detail by forcing former Laker Guard Tyronn Lue to wear a compressive sleeve during practice. Widely considered a typical PJ mind game, the combination of the sleeve and Lue’s corn-row hair style were actually for simulating the game of Sixers Guard Allen Iverson. Phil has shown his willingness to go above and beyond to assure that his players succeed, leaving us to question if any new head coach could perform at the same level.
Lakers Nation has been collectively holding their breath ever since the final buzzer of their Game 7 victory, hoping Phil will be back to bring Los Angeles yet another title. During the next week while his health is processed and he reflects on the year at his home in Montana, we can only hope that in June of next year, we are celebrating a Laker three-peat.
While embittered Celtics loyalists such as Boston’s own “Sports Guy” Bill Simmons refuse to give credit to Jackson’s achievements, (Simmons was quoted in an ESPN chat after the Finals saying Boston’s Red Auerbach was still better than Jackson, even though Phil owns 11 titles to Red’s 9) there’s no denying that the Celtics were just the latest victim to fall to PJ’s prowess and skill as the greatest coach the NBA has ever seen. The only question Lakers Nation should want to concern itself with after this long
week is, “Who’s Next?”