Wednesday, this is what former NBA center Scot Pollard said about the retiring Phil Jackson:
"I just think he's one of the most overrated coaches of our time. He's only had the greatest players of our era on his teams.
"I'm just saying there are certain coaches that can take a team like the Cleveland Cavaliers this year because they had a poor year and can turn them around to a playoff team, maybe not a champion, but a playoff team. There are certain coaches that can do that. All I'm saying is Phil Jackson has never done that. He has never taken a team that wasn't a playoff team and turned them into a playoff team. The players that played for him turned into a playoff team."
Thursday, this is what I say to Scot Pollard:
Hi, Scot Pollard. Hope you found something creative to do with your haircut and/or facial hair this week.
First off, nobody was taking this year's Cavaliers and making them a playoff team. LeBron James wasn't even going to do that, and he supposedly still loves Cleveland.
In 1994, Phil Jackson coached a team that was led by Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant and B.J. Armstrong to 55 wins. All three made the All-Star team, but only Pippen really deserved it. Toni Kukoc was on that team, and he was fantastic offensively, but he also made Yi Jianlian look like Bruce Bowen that season. Also, right before the playoffs, the Bulls trainers found out that Kukoc was regularly downing 3,000-calorie meals plus red wine as a ritual before games at a local restaurant.
That team was one iffy call away from making the finals. Jerry Krause, who wouldn't hand Phil Jackson a soothing balm had Jackson somehow just survived a cannonball into a pool of lava, called that run "the best-coached team I've ever seen."
In 2006 and 2007 Phil Jackson coached a Lakers team featuring Kobe Bryant and a still-very-mercurial Lamar Odom to the playoffs. This might not seem like much, in a league that allows 16 teams to make the postseason, or behind a team featuring an MVP-caliber talent in Bryant, but this was an incredible accomplishment. Considering the competition in a ridiculously talented Western Conference, and considering the fact that Kwame Brown and Smush Parker started. Chris Mihm was often a game-deciding member of the rotation.
Surrounding those turns? He also coached Michael Jordan, Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal and Pau Gasol to 11 titles in 20 years of coaching. And yes, he had talent. But so did "Michael Jordan, Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal and Pau Gasol." That's why we laud them for performing up to potential and winning championships.
And that's what you're supposed to do to Phil Jackson, when he performs up to potential, and wins championships.
Also, if you have the time, ask your friends in the NBA (the ones who gave you all those jobs) for some tapes of the Chicago Bulls in May of 1989, and tapes of the Los Angeles Lakers from May of 1998 and 1999. Same cast, full of stars, and full of fail. Kind of like your recent comments. And I'm using a phrase like "full of fail," because I'm assuming this is how you talk.