Philip Douglas "Phil" Jackson, Nicknamed 'Zen Master', Considered One of the Greatest Coaches in the NBA's History
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Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success by Phil Jackson and Hugh Delehanty
MJ vs. KB? Here it is from the man who would know best.
"... Michael was more charismatic and gregarious than Kobe. He loved hanging out with his teammates and security guards, playing cards,
smoking cigars, and joking around,
Kobe is different. He was reserved as a teenager, in part because he was younger than the other
players and hadn't developed strong social
skills in college.
When Kobe first joined the Lakers, he avoided fraternizing with his teammates. But his inclination to keep to himself
shifted as he grew older. Increasingly, Kobe put more energy into getting to know the other players, especially when the team was on the road.
Michael was a tougher, more intimidating defender. He could break through virtually any screen and shut down almost any player with his
intense, laser-focused style of defense," said Jackson, who coached Jordan to six championships and Bryant to five.
Kobe has learned a lot from studying Michael's tricks, and we often used him as our secret weapon on defense when we needed to turn the
direction of a game. In general, Kobe tends to rely more heavily on his flexibility and craftiness, but he takes a lot of gambles on defense
and sometimes pays the price. ......
Michael was more likely to break through his attackers with power and strength, while Kobe often tries to finesse his way through mass
pileups," Jackson wrote. "Michael was stronger, with bigger shoulders and a sturdier frame. He also had large hands that allowed him to
control the ball better and make subtle fakes.
Jordan was also more naturally inclined to let the game come to him and not overplay his hand, whereas Kobe tends to force the action,
especially when the game isn't going his way. When his shot is off, Kobe will pound away relentlessly until his luck turns. Michael,
on the other hand, would shift his attention to defense or passing or setting screens to help the team win the game.
Brooke expected me to get angry and make her feel protected. Instead I suppressed my rage — as I'd been conditioned to do during childhood
by my parents … it left her feeling alone and unsupported. (In the end, after filing a report with the police, Brooke chose not to press
"The Kobe incident triggered all my unprocessed anger and tainted my perception of him. ... It distorted my view of Kobe throughout the
2003-04 season. No matter what I did to extinguish it, the anger kept smoldering in the background
No question, losing Kobe would be a blow to the organization and to me personally ..."
Excerpted from "
" by Phil Jackson and Hugh Delehanty. Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success by Phil Jackson and Hugh Delehanty During his storied career as head coach of the Chicago Bulls and
Los Angeles Lakers, Phil Jackson won more championships than any coach in the history of professional sports. Even more important, he
succeeded in never wavering from coaching his way, from a place of deep values. Jackson was tagged as the “Zen master” half in jest by
sportswriters, but the nickname speaks to an important truth: this is a coach who inspired, not goaded; who led by awakening and challenging the better angels of his players’ nature, not their egos, fear, or greed.
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This is the story of a preacher’s kid from North Dakota who grew up to be one of the most innovative leaders of our time. In his quest to
reinvent himself, Jackson explored everything from humanistic psychology and Native American philosophy to Zen meditation. In the process,
he developed a new approach to leadership based on freedom, authenticity, and selfless teamwork that turned the hypercompetitive world of
professional sports on its head.
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They are as much a part of Jackson's evolving core as pounding
the offensive boards with the Knicks and warring with Bulls' management. If some of it seems contradictory, it is those very
contradictions--more than the seven championship rings as a coach and two as a player--that make Jackson so interesting; they have
helped him reshape and redefine the job.
In Eleven Rings, Jackson candidly describes how he:
• Learned the secrets of mindfulness and team chemistry
while playing for the champion New York Knicks in the 1970s
• Managed Michael Jordan, the greatest player in the world,
and got him to embrace selflessness, even if it meant
losing a scoring title
• Forged successful teams out of players of varying abilities
by getting them to trust one another and perform in sync
• Inspired Dennis Rodman and other “uncoachable” personalities
to devote themselves to something larger than themselves
• Transformed Kobe Bryant from a rebellious teenager into a
mature leader of a championship team. VIDEO
Eleven times, Jackson led his teams to the ultimate goal: the NBA championship—six times with the Chicago Bulls and five times with the Los
Angeles Lakers. We all know the legendary stars on those teams, or think we do. What Eleven Rings shows us, however, is that when it comes
to the most important lessons, we don’t know very much at all.
This book is full of revelations: about fascinating personalities and their drive to win; about the wellsprings of motivation and
competition at the highest levels; and about what it takes to bring out the best in ourselves and others.
Read an Excerpt "Kobe Bryant and the Triangle:
"... If children are fated to live out the unfulfilled dreams of their parents, Kobe was a textbook case. His father, Joe "Jellybean" Bryant,
was a six-nine forward for the legendary 1970s Philadelphia 76ers. Bryant Sr. once claimed that he played the same kind of game as Magic
Johnson, but the NBA wasn't ready for his playground style.
So after stints with two other teams, he finished his career in Italy, where Kobe grew up.
The youngest of three children (and the only boy), Kobe was the golden child in the family who could do no wrong. He was a bright,
talented overachiever with a natural gift for the game. He spent long hours practicing, imitating the moves of Jordan and others
he studied on tapes his relatives sent from the United States. When he was thirteen, the family moved back to Philadelphia, and he
soon developed into a star at Lower Merion High School. John Lucas, then head coach of the 76ers, invited Kobe to scrimmage with the
team over the summer and was surprised by the young player's courage and level of skill. Not long afterward, Kobe decided to forgo
college and jump right into the pros, even though he had high enough SAT scores to take his pick of schools. Jerry West said Kobe's
pre-draft workout at age seventeen was the best he'd ever seen. Jerry made a trade with the Hornets to draft Kobe thirteenth overall
in 1996 -- the same year he lured Shaq away from Orlando with a seven-year, $120 million free-agent deal.
Kobe had big dreams. Soon after I started with the Lakers, Jerry called me into his office to report that Kobe had asked him how he had
averaged 30-plus points a game when his teammate, Elgin Baylor, was also scoring 30-plus points per game. Kobe was hell-bent on surpassing
Jordan as the greatest player in the game. His obsession with Michael was striking. Not only had he mastered many of Jordan's moves, but he
affected many of M.J.'s mannerisms as well. When we played in Chicago that season, I orchestrated a meeting between the two stars, thinking
that Michael might help shift Kobe's attitude toward selfless teamwork. After they shook hands, the first words out of Kobe's mouth were
"You know I can kick your ass one on one."
Jackson: Jordan Better Leader Than Kobe
I admired Kobe's ambition. But I also felt that he needed to break out of his protective chrysalis if he wanted to win the ten rings he told
his teammates he was shooting for. Obviously, basketball isn't an individual sport. To achieve greatness, you must rely on the good offices
of others. But Kobe had yet to reach out to his teammates and try to get to know them. Instead of spending time with them after games,
he usually went back to his hotel room to study tapes or chat with his high-school friends on the phone.
Kobe was also a stubborn, hardheaded learner. He was so confident in his ability that you couldn't simply point out his mistakes and expect
him to alter his behavior. He would have to experience failure directly before his resistance would start to break down. It was often
an excruciating process for him and everyone else involved. Then suddenly he would have an aha moment and figure out a way to change.
One of those moments happened in early February. That's when the team was struck by a puzzling malaise. After a less-than-stellar performance,
I closed the locker room to all but the players and asked what had happened to cause them to suddenly stop playing together. It was a
rhetorical question, but I let them know we'd take it up the following day after practice. We gathered in a small video room at Southwest
Los Angeles Community College -- our temporary practice space. There were four rows of five chairs, and in the first row sat Shaq, Fox, Fish,
Harp, and Shaw. Kobe was in the last row with his hoodie pulled over his head. I reviewed the demands that the triangle offense placed on
each team member, then concluded: "You can't be a selfish player and make this offense work for the team's good. Period." When I opened the
floor to comments, there was complete silence, and I was about to adjourn the meeting when Shaq spoke up. He got right to the point,
saying, "I think Kobe is playing too selfishly for us to win." That got everyone fired up. Some of the players nodded in support of Shaq,
including Rick Fox, who said, "How many times have we been through this?" No one in that room came to Kobe's defense. I asked him if he
had anything to say. Kobe finally addressed the group, and in a calm, quiet voice he said he cared about everyone and just wanted to be
part of a winning team.
I wasn't pleased with the meeting. I worried that having everyone's complaints on the table without any resolution would have a negative
effect on team harmony. In the days that followed, we lost four out of five games, including a 105-81 "massacre" by the Spurs in the
Alamodome. One night that week I had a dream about spanking Kobe and giving Shaq a smack. "Shaq needs and Kobe wants -- the mystery of the
Lakers," I wrote in my journal.
The players started blaming one another for the breakdown, and I realized that I had to address the unrest head-on. The first thing I did
was meet Shaq for breakfast to discuss what it means to be a leader. I started by relating the story of how Michael galvanized the Bulls
with his confidence in himself and his teammates before the must-win game 5 against Cleveland in the 1989 playoffs. The Cavaliers had just
beaten us at home to tie the series, and Michael had had an off night. Still, that didn't faze him. His uncompromising faith revved up the
team, and we won the final game -- not surprisingly, on a last-second miracle shot by Jordan.
I told Shaq he needed to find his own way to inspire the Lakers. He needed to express his confidence and natural joy for the game in such a
way that his teammates -- Kobe especially -- felt that if they joined forces with him, nothing would be impossible. A team leader's number
one job, I explained, was to build up his teammates, not tear them down. Shaq had probably heard this kind of spiel before, but this time I
think it clicked.
With Kobe I took a different tack. I tried to be as direct as possible and show him in front of the other players how his selfish mistakes
were hurting the team. During one film session, I said, "Now I know why the guys don't like playing with you. You've got to play
together." I also indicated to him that if he didn't want to share the ball with his teammates, I would gladly work out a trade for him.
I had no trouble being the bad cop in this situation. (See under: Sometimes you have to pull out the big stick.) I knew [Ron] Harper would
soften the blow later by explaining to Kobe -- in far less strident terms -- how to play more selflessly without sacrificing his creativity.
Phil Jackson explains his ’11 championship rings’
I also talked to Kobe about what it takes to be a leader. At one point I told him, "I guess you'd like to be the captain of this team someday
when you're older -- maybe like twenty-five." He replied that he wanted to be captain tomorrow. To which I said, "You can't be captain if
nobody follows you."
Eventually it sank in. Kobe began looking for ways to fit himself into the system and play more collaboratively. He also made an effort
to socialize more with his teammates, especially when we were on the road. And after the All-Star break, everything started to come together.
We went on a 27-1 streak and finished the season with the best record in the league, 67-15.
The players seemed relieved that we'd put to sleep a problem that had haunted the team for the past three years. As Rick Fox put it,
Kobe's me-first attitude "was a land mine that was about to explode. We all knew that somebody had to step on it, but nobody wanted to.
So Phil did it, and we all walk a lot more freely now."
Excerpted from "
" by Phil Jackson and Hugh Delehanty. Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success by Phil Jackson and Hugh Delehanty Praises for:
Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success by Phil Jackson and Hugh Delehanty The Zen Master Revealed!
11 Rings: The Soul of Success is Phil Jackson's newest book and an interesting look inside the mind of one of the greatest American
professional sports coaches in history. The entire book is filled with interesting quotes, historical and personal examples, relevent
analogies concerning his theories on coaching, leadership, and teamwork. I find Jackson's mind to be very fascinating, and in a way,
much less organized than John Wooden's more disciplined approach to life, leadership and coaching. I am reminded of the differences
between an artist and an engineer, if I was generalizing.
There are a few points I found most interesting. Jackson discusses the limited similarities between part of a winning sports team and
part of a tight-knit military unit. He also discusses the difference between championship teams and less successful teams, and even the
variences between championship teams he has coached or played for. Since I have had the privilege of living both experiences (not at the
professional sports level), I found the comparisons and contrasts effective. He rightly points out that playing basketball is not the
same as being willing to smother a live grenade to save a comrade's life, but that the best teams, in any walk of life, develop trust
and love for each other. Their ability to perform at the highest levels goes beyond purely technical skill or physical talent and
approaches the spiritual.
Jackson talks frequently about Kobe Bryant and there are some comparisons to him and Michael Jordan made in the book. I found all of the
comments Jackson makes about the many players he's coached to be interesting because he recognizes each had particular challenges and gifts,
as do we all. How he helped individual players, and the teams, to overcome their challenges and successfully utilize their individual and
collective gifts was insightful and a demonstration of his genius at people skills.
The last point I want to share is that I feel Phil Jackson often gets unfairly criticized because he won championships while having
all-world talent on each championship team. Any coach would like to have Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Shaquille O'Neal
and Kobe Bryant play on the roster. It takes talent to win-both playing and coaching. All of those players played for other coaches who
didn't win championships while they were teamed up. Phil Jackson repeatedly brings home the lessons of team chemistry, motivation,
maximizing an individual's talents, human relationships and a myriad of other "soft-skills" which are difficult for some people to accept
as the other reasons for his success. It wasn't just about having the best players. John Wooden, Pat Riley, Red Aurbach and Phil Jackson
were successful because they knew how to develop and utilize the talent of their players to become champions. Jackson shares insights on
how he was able to help great players become part of great teams.
11 Rings will read like Phil Jackson's other books, so if you liked them, you will most likely enjoy this one. I believe he merits
discussion as being the greatest basketball coach in history, if that means much to you. Certainly, anyone who reads 11 Rings and is a
basketball fan will find some nuggets here. Likewise, anyone who is interested in building family, teamwork, people skills or leadership
skills can read 11 Rings and find some useful lessons and interesting insights.
Clifford A. Stuart ~ Books Reviews
About the Authors
is arguably the greatest coach in the history of the NBA. His reputation was established as head
coach of the Chicago Bulls from 1989-1998; during his tenure, Chicago won six NBA titles.
His next team, the Los Angeles Lakers, won
five NBA titles, from 2000 to 2010. He holds the record for the most championships in NBA history as a player and a head coach.
has the highest winning percentage of any NBA coach (.704). Jackson was a player on the 1970 and 1973 NBA champion New York Knicks.
In 2007 Jackson was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
A former editor for Sports Illustrated and People,
is the co-author with Phil Jackson of the bestselling memoir,
Sacred Hoops: Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior
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