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SPORTS NOTES - LAKERS "ACTION JACKSON"

Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson will have to bring all of his Montana survival gear with him for this job.


 

James Loving/National Radio Text Service

 

 

All the Kings horses and all the kings' men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together again. But all things being equal, maybe Jackson can do it for the Lakers. If he can't, nobody can…

 

 

Thursday, September 30, 1999

PATCHING UP THE SHOULDA, WOULDA, COULDA BOYS

The Lakers signing PHIL JACKSON to be their coach in a $30 million, six-year deal, will be a major test for the Zen Man. What he is about to undertake will be more trying than anything he's ever faced in the past. Phil Jackson…. YOU ARE ABOUT TO ENTER THE TWILIGHT ZONE. [See Feature Archive: ["Lakers Die-Nasty"]

In Jackson's first action, he informed the Lakers coaching staff that he preferred to hire his own people. Jackson is on his way to taking control. He will need all the strength and control he can muster to put a franchise back that has fallen down and crashed in the nineties.

But hey…, All the Kings horses and all the kings' men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together again. But all things being equal, maybe Jackson can do it for the Lakers. If he can't, nobody can…that is, Anyone who is available to coach a NBA team today.

"Right now this team is a talented team, but it still has holes in it," the LA Times reported Jackson as saying. Jackson also noted the team lacks role players.

Jackson will have to face the NEW BREED of MEGA EGO SUPERSTARS. It's something he DIDN'T have to deal with in Chicago. Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman are from the OLD SCHOOL of ego, before player's salaries topped the resources of some third world countries. Jackson now has to deal with immature large-salaried players that can have a coach fired at his will. Jackson inherits the talents and EGO'S of Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Glen Rice.

Rice could be a problem. He has already expressed his displeasure to team VP Jerry West that the team exercised their option on his contract calling for $7 million a year. Rice would have preferred to try the free agent market for MO MONEY. Ohhhhhhhh….. [See Feature Archives: Spurs Dignity & Class"]

Jackson also inherits the OLD EGO'S of WEST and MAGIC JOHNSON. Johnson can be counted on to comment on anything and everything…which will include Jackson's performance. The Lakers' world is crashing around them so Phil…, please wear your construction helmet.

If Rice remains with the team, Jackson will have to do a physic job on the third option shooter. Ahhh did someone say pass the Rice?

In Chicago, Jackson was working with MATURE MEN. Yes, that includes Rodman, when it comes to going to work on the basketball court. Yeah… the Bulls had egos but they were displayed much differently than today's mega-ego star. When he inherited the Bulls, there were tons of players in the league making more money than the superstar JORDAN. Yeah… life has changed.

Perhaps Jackson should consider hiring music and film producer QUINCY JONES as an assistant coach. Jones knows how the handle the HOLLYWEIRD EGO. He did it well when he gathered the WORLDS most famous MUSIC SUPERSTARS together and produced the recording "We Are The World." in the 80's. At the time, Jones advised the recording stars to LEAVE THEIR EGO'S AT THE DOOR.

Jackson brings a more impressive work credential than anyone in the Lakers' organization. His seven championship rings [six as a coach, one as a player] top Lakers President's Jerry West's six [one as a player, five as an executive] and Lakers VP and 5% owner, Magic Johnson's five, all as a player. Ohhhh my!!!

This will be an important trump card when the EGOS COLLIDE.

Jackson had to apply all of his psychology experience in dealing with the Bulls trio of Jordan, Pippen and Rodman. He will now have to out think Shaquille O Neal, Kobe Bryant and ahhhh…Glen Rice…maybe… if he's still around next season.

The problem is they don't make players the way they used to 15 years ago when the vintage Bulls emerged. Worst of all, they don't think the way they used to do.

Jackson has his down to earth Montana upbringing, exposure to the 60's beat generation and Woodstock experiences to draw from. He'll have to have all of it working for him. But he will have to test his own will.

There's that HOLLYWEIRD thang…yes THANG. Is Jackson strong enough to influence Hollyweird or will Hollyweird influence Jackson?

Let's open up a can of CAN HE'S.

Can he get his team of boys to act like men and focus on playing basketball and not MUGGING for the camera and showing off to the HOLLYWEIRD SHUFFLE to their movie star fans?

Can he get this talented underachieving team to BE REAL???

Can he turn this Hollyweird HOT DOG team into STEAK with SUBSTANCE and a moderate amount of sizzle? Ohhh myyyy.

Can he un-spoil a spoiled team and organization?

Yes, if you put "The Robe" on Jackson he could give the appearance of someone from biblical times. But…. Can he really create miracles? Guaranteed… he cannot part the Red Sea.

Jackson is a strong achiever with a hard work ethic. Someone who has lived in both worlds of left of center and visibly, appears to have the ability to coexist with conformity. His long hared hippie sixty days, can be… ADVANTAGE Mr. Jackson.

With all of his earthly no Hollyweird qualities, can he bring down to earth, values to a team and a player who thinks this world is his. "The Man From Twism," meaning [TWISM/This World Is Mine], O'Neal's chosen name of his company.

When Jackson took over the reigns as the Bulls coach in 1989, the team was pretty much in place. Horace Grant, Jordan and Pippen were locked in having played several years together.

There will be some tough lessons to be taught. The Montana Grizzly will have to place a SECURITY BLANKET over his charges and cover up the past.

He will have to teach them they cannot live in the past, especially in someone else's and their own reputation. He will have to teach them to get a LIFE OF THEIR OWN. He will have to teach them to forget about those championship banners hanging on the walls. They're not theirs and they'll have to earn their own. He will have to teach them to focus on what's in front of them and not what surrounds them. They will have to learn that movie stars CAN'T WIN BALL GAMES FOR YOU. They sit on the sidelines and do not play on the floor.

They will have to learn… Now how does that song go? "Nobody loves you when you're down and out." He will have to teach the entire organization dignity, humility and manhood.

Jackson will bring something new to the organization, someone who can look you directly in the eye and say what he has to say. He's a man.

Jackson will have to bring all of his Montana survival gear with him for this job. In particular, his hip high fishing boots…the BS gets deep in Lakerland. He had better bring a snorkel... sometimes Lakes BS gets OVER YOUR HEAD.

One of Jackson's strengths is being somewhat of a visionary. He can see how pieces can fit together and then meld them so the team can be the sum of its parts. If he can make the Lakers' organization see that the WORLD IS ROUND and doesn't' begin and end in Laker Land, then he will have accomplished the impossible.

Jackson will most certainly have his hands full. His task is not to be envied in rebuilding the Lakers franchise that has been mishandled and is close to being ruined. It's like the HUMPTY DUMPTY story goes - All the kings horses and all the kings MEN couldn't put Humpty… BACK TOGETHER AGAIN.

Phil Jackson will need a TON of SUPER GLUE.

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