Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Los Angeles Lakers [Print without images]

Wednesday, May 11, 2011
One last press conference for Phil Jackson

By Brian Kamenetzky

I get the sense he won't miss these all that much.

Most of what Phil Jackson said about the team, the loss to the Mavericks, and the season generally echoed his statements at the podium following Sunday's loss. The most interesting stuff from Wednesday's exit interview- and this time there's every reason to believe in the exit part- came in those moments of introspection, in which Jackson looked back on his career, reflected on why he came back to the Lakers in 2005 and why he's leaving (for good) now.

One particularly interesting moment came when Jackson was asked to evaluate his strengths and weaknesses as a coach:
"I'll sum it up that talent wins. When you have the talent to coach, it makes all the difference in the world. I've coached some of the greatest talent to ever play the game. That's the real fact of the matter. To be able to generate a momentum, so it wasn't just a one trick and it was over in one championship, has a lot to do with the staff that joined me. Tex Winter. Johnny Bach. Jim Cleamons. Jimmy Rodgers. Frank Hamblen. Brian Shaw. Kurt Rambis. Chuck Person. Bill Cartwright was there for a year, [John] Paxson in Chicago. So there was a combination of people that came into the staff that were dedicated to what we were doing and were interested in the execution. Tex Winter was a stalwart, a companion of mine as a coach for 15 years of these 20, so that was real good teamwork that we had together. It was a lot of fun and the players caught on and got with it.

The strengths that I have are probably about community and about groups, about chemistry on a team. The first time I interviewed for a job as an NBA coach, I was rejected. It was because I didn't know X's and O's. I didn't take Basketball 101 in college, I took other things. But that wasn't always my strength, figuring out how to make the last second play work, or whatever. I felt execution was important.  A lot of times, I probably failed at some the strategy things as a coach. There were people that were good at it that were on my staff."

Here, Jackson discusses the viability of the current roster, looks back on the Dallas series, and more:



Click below for more video from Jackson's final day in front of the media...

Jackson, on his strengths and weaknesses as a coach, the influence of Winter, and the value of system offenses whether the triangle or any of the others around the league. They need not be wedded to his, he said.



Jackson had an interesting response when asked what he'd like to in retirement. "Some of the musings that I have always had are adventures. I was a kid that liked to read Robinson Crusoe and those types of things. The last time I had a year off I traveled to the South Pacific and enjoyed what I did, even though it was only six weeks. But I realized on that trip that I was not physically capable of doing that tripping and adventure that I'd always hoped to be able to do. So a couple operations later and one still to follow, maybe I'll get back to those kinds of things, the adventure part that I've always liked to imagine I would do. One of my favorites is a guy named Johnny Rodgers who traveled the world east to west and north to south on a motorcycle. Those are the kinds of things that interest me, that are challenges I would've like to have done."

Here, Jackson talks about why he returned to the Lakers in '05, and why he's leaving now:



Jackson, on any regrets in how he approached this season, the appeal of coaching, and an interesting moment in which he responds to the question of whether he "loved" coaching:



Finally, Phil reveals a still-less-than-cozy relationship with Jim Buss, when asked about his sense of attachment to the organization beyond his "sweetie" Jeannie Buss: