Phil Jackson and the legacy

Peter Drulias, Staff Writer

Over the span of the NBA’s history, there have been many coaches in and out of teams, both successful and unsuccessful. But there have been only a handful of “great” coaches. When thinking of these great coaches, people like Red Auerbach, Pat Riley and Lenny Wilkins come to mind. Among those three, each has more than a thousand games won and multiple championships won. It is a new era now and someone is about to join the conversation as one of the best coaches to ever coach in the NBA. Phil Jackson is now considered an elite coach in the history of the game. He has virtually accomplished it all. Coaching in Chicago during the days of Michael Jordan, he won 400 games out of 557, making him the second fastest to hit the milestone. He also was able to win coach of the year in the year 1995-96 and guided the Bulls to six championships winning three titles, winning 91-93 back to back and later in 1996. After he departed from the Bulls, he took the job as head coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, where he even had more success. In 2000 through 2002., he won consecutive titles and was the first coach in NBA history to lead two different teams to the championship game and win it. In the same decade, he was able to form a dynasty around some of the game’s best players, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant . In 2006 to 2010 he also won three more titles. Due to health issues, he has resigned as Lakers’ head coach and plans on retiring and leaving the game of coaching for good. He ended his career with 1026 wins and 431 losses, giving him a .704 winning percentage. Even though he might not be considered the best to ever coach in the NBA, he is in the top five for best coaches ever and will one day make his way to the Hall of Fame.