Down in Houston to preside over yet another close loss (four in a row, actually) for his Los Angeles Lakers, coach Phil Jackson offered a less-than-ringing endorsement of former Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich (who was also both Jackson's successor and full-time predecessor in Los Angeles during most of the 2004-05 season) for Springfield's Basketball Hall of Fame.
Asked if he thought Tomjanovich was deserving, Jackson said, "We'll see. I'm not on that committee. I like all the coaches to get a chance to go in."
Geez. You can't just pretend to be effusive, just for five seconds?
Jackson goes on to toss in some pretty declarative statements on a subject that, take it from me, Houston Rockets fans have been pretty sensitive about for well over a decade:
Jackson agreed with the argument that the Rockets' championships were tainted because Michael Jordan was out of the league for the first of their title seasons and much of the next.
"Definitely," Jackson said. "Without a doubt. Clearly, if the Bulls were whole, we would have won. It's pretty much registered by now. When Michael played, we won the championship."
Without a doubt? Clearly? Definitely? I'm as big a Bulls backer as they come, but I also remember Chicago playing for its lives against the Knicks in the 1992 and 1993 playoffs, and things were pretty hairy there for a while. I'd put my money on the red and black, but I don't know if I'd be so black and white about it, if you catch my colors.
Honesty, frustratingly, compels me to also point out that the Bulls lost twice by a combined 25 points to a Rockets team that very much resembled the 1993-94 and 1994-95 champions, with Jordan, during the 1992-93 season.
- Rudy Tomjanovich
- coach Phil Jackson
- Michael Jordan