I winced like many of you when the LA Lakers decided not to hire legendary NBA Head Coach Phil Jackson. The Lakers wanted Phil back as we all did, but apparently Phil wanted a little bit too much in return to give it another go. Was not being present at all of the shoot-a-rounds and a lighter travel schedule too much to ask? I didn’t think so. Okay, the 10 million multi-year or so contract would have to be factored in as well, but come on…we are talking Phil Jackson here!
Phil Jackson was the sentimental favorite to right the listing Laker ship. Just the fact that he had even agreed to meet with the LA Lakers had brought joyous grins to the Laker faithful. Phil Jackson knows how to win. His record 11 NBA titles and highest winning percentage (.704) are beyond dispute. At age 67, it would have been very interesting to see if ole Saint Phil could do it again. Kobe Bryant recently lamented about not being able to give Phil another NBA title due to an knee injury in Phil’s last season with the Lakers. Would the hiring of Phil Jackson be the spark to get Kobe to play at a sustained high level? We just can’t say, but it would have been interesting, to say the least, to find out.
I have often marveled over the years at the astute moves the management of the LA Lakers have made in recent history. The LA Laker’s management always seems to put together a team that has made fans believe that they could win it all each and every season. Of course, a liberal checkbook doesn’t hurt the cause either. With the off season acquisitions of premium center Dwight Howard and future Hall of Fame guard Steve Nash, they once again made fans believe that ’tis is the season. Unfortunately for former head coach Mike Brown, the Lakers sluggish start out of the gate made the quest for the right head coach look like the present missing from under the tree. Can newly signed head coach Mike D’Antoni deliver the goods? Santa always seems to come through for us each year, but it remains to be seen if D’Antoni can make Laker fans believers with visions of NBA titles dancing in their heads.
But just like every head coach, in whatever sport you enjoy watching, it is really all about being Santa Claus. Can you deliver the goodies to the fans. Fans want to see their team win. It will be fun to see if Mike D’Antoni can get it done and ponder as the season progresses whether the Lakers made the right choice. I have a feeling he will be able to get the Lakers back on the right track. If he does, the excitement of the return of Phil Jackson will slowly fade. Perhaps Mike D’Antoni will be the gift that keeps on giving wins to the fans. If he is able to get them back to NBA finals and yet another victory, he will make believers out of us all!