Phil Jackson is a retired NBA player and coach, who was most recently the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Jackson played 13 seasons in the NBA, winning two NBA championships in 1970 and 1973 as a member of the New York Knicks. Jackson was also the head coach of the Chicago Bulls, leading his team to six NBA championships in a span of eight years in the 1990s. After a short-lived retirement, Jackson returned to coach the Lakers, leading them to three consecutive NBA titles from 2000 to 2002, and two more in 2009 and 2010. Jackson's coaching signature is the triangle offense, which he adopted from assistant coach Tex Winter. In 1999, Jackson was named one of the 10 greatest coaches in NBA history during the league's 50th anniversary. Jackson was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.
Phil Jackson attended Williston High School in North Dakota and led his team to two state titles. As a senior in the North Dakota state championship game, Jackson scored 48 points in the victory. Jackson was an excellent baseball player, as well. While Jackson was in high school, future NBA coach Bill Fitch would recruit him to play at the University of North Dakota.
Phil Jackson attended the University of North Dakota, an NCAA Division II program. After sitting out his freshman year (as freshmen were not eligible to play by NCAA rules), Jackson averaged just fewer than 20 points per game in his three years with the Fighting Sioux, leading his team to third- and fourth-place finishes in the NCAA Division II tournament. He was selected as a first-team D-II All-American during his junior and senior years.
The New York Knicks selected Phil Jackson in the second round of the 1967 NBA draft. As a rookie, Jackson, whose nickname was "Head 'n' Shoulders," was selected to the NBA All-Rookie First Team, averaging 6.2 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Jackson's game was limited offensively, but he made up for his lack of scoring with his intense defense.
Phil Jackson missed the Knicks' first championship season in 1969-70 after he underwent spinal fusion surgery. Jackson got his first experience with coaching during that season while he was sidelined. Knicks coach Red Holzman used Jackson as an assistant. Holzman would send Jackson out on the road to scout an opponent because he trusted his basketball judgment. Jackson returned to the Knicks the following season and was a key reserve in New York's second NBA championship run in 1973. Jackson averaged a career-high 11.1 points per game during the 1973-74 season.
In 1974-75, Jackson would become a starter and have his best season statistically, averaging 10.8 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. He would also lead the league in a dubious stat, racking up the most personal fouls with 330.
After 11 seasons with the Knicks, Jackson finished his NBA career with the New Jersey Nets as a player-assistant coach. In 1980, Jackson retired. Over the course of his career, Jackson averaged 6.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in 807 games.
After his retirement in 1980, Phil Jackson served as a full-time assistant coach with the Nets during the 1980-81 season and later served as a color commentator for New Jersey broadcasts. Jackson eventually got back into coaching, taking a position with the Albany Patroons of the Continental Basketball Association, leading the team to their first title in 1984. During the CBA offseason, Jackson would coach in Puerto Rico for the Quebradillas Pirates and the Isabela Fighting Cocks.
Chicago Bulls (1987-1998)
In 1987, Jackson was hired as an assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls under head coach Doug Collins. The Bulls reached the conference finals in 1989, but Bulls management felt the team had plateaued under Collins and replaced him with Jackson for the 1989-90 season.
Jackson inherited a team with two of the league's best players in Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, but little else in terms of offensive weapons. Jackson and Bulls assistant Tex Winter implemented the triangle offense, maximizing the effectiveness of every player on the court. In Jackson's first season as head coach, the Bulls went 55-27 and finished second in the Central Division. The Bulls advanced to the Eastern Conference finals, losing to the Detroit Pistons in seven games.
In 1990-91, Jackson proved that the Bulls were legit, going 61-21 and getting revenge on the Pistons in the Eastern Conference finals. Chicago swept Detroit, advancing to the NBA Finals to take on Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers. Behind Jordan, the Bulls won their franchise's first NBA title, the first NBA championship ring for Jackson as a head coach.
During the 1991-92 season, Jackson led the Bulls to a 67-15 record. After a close seven-game series with the New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Bulls defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals and earned another trip to the NBA Finals. In the '92 NBA Finals, the Bulls defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in six games, winning back-to-back championships.
Jackson and the Bulls' record-season record took a dip (57-25) during the 1992-93 season, but during the playoffs, the Bulls proved why they were the two-time defending NBA champions. In the 1993 NBA Finals, Chicago defeated the Phoenix Suns in six games and finished a three-peat, the first time an NBA team had accomplished such a feat since the Boston Celtics won eight straight championships from 1959 to 1966.
On Oct. 6, 1993, Jordan retired from the Bulls, citing his lack of passion for the sport of basketball. Without Jordan, Jackson led the Bulls to 55-27 record during the 1993-94 season. Jackson was unable to make it four straight championships, losing to the New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference semifinals in seven games.
The Bulls' roster turned over more in 1994-95, with star power forward Horace Grant leaving for Orlando. Missing two of the key pieces of his title teams proved to be a challenge for Jackson, as the Bulls were below .500 entering March. With Jackson struggling to get the team securely in the playoffs, Jordan announced his return to the NBA on March 18, 1995. Chicago finished the regular season winning 13 of its 17 games after Jordan's return, but the team bowed out in the second round of the playoffs to the Orlando Magic.
With Jordan back for the entire 1995-96 season, Jackson and the Bulls set an NBA record with 72 regular-season wins, improving by 25 wins from the previous season. Jackson earned his only career Coach of the Year award for his efforts, as the Bulls knocked the '71-72 Lakers from the record books. The playoffs proved to be a return to glory for the Bulls, who earned their fourth NBA championship by beating the Seattle SuperSonics in six games. The Bulls' combined record for the regular season and playoffs was 87-13, also the best in NBA history.
The following season, the Bulls won 69 games, matching the second-best mark in NBA history. At the All-Star break, Jackson was honored as one of the 10 greatest coaches in NBA history as part of the league's 50th anniversary celebration. Jackson had a chance to lead Chicago to back-to-back 70-win seasons, but the Bulls lost their final two games of the season. After breezing through the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Bulls defeated the Utah Jazz in the 1997 NBA Finals in six games.
Despite the Bulls' continued success, the tension continued to grow between Jackson and Bulls general manager Jerry Krause. Jackson and Krause had been friends, but the relationship soured after Sam Smith's 1991 book "The Jordan Rules." Though Jackson signed a one-year contract to return to Chicago in 1997-98, Krause told Jackson the season would be his last as Bulls coach, even if it ended in a title.
The Bulls and Jazz met once again in the 1998 NBA Finals, with Chicago once again defeating Utah in six games for a second three-peat.
Following a lockout that resulted in a delayed start to the NBA season, Jordan announced his second retirement on Jan. 13, 1999. With Jordan gone, Jackson announced that he would be retiring, as well. In his nine seasons as head coach of the Bulls, Jackson led Chicago to championships in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 1998. His regular-season record with the Bulls was 545-193.
Los Angeles Lakers (1999-2004, 2005-present)
After a one-year sabbatical from coaching, Jackson was signed by the Los Angeles Lakers to a five-year, $30 million contract. Lakers management saw Jackson as the leader they needed for a talented team that had fallen short in the playoffs. He immediately produced results, leading the Kobe Bryant-Shaquille O'Neal duo to a 67-15 regular-season record and an NBA championship in his first season in Los Angeles. The win over the Indiana Pacers in the 2000 Finals ended an 11-year championship drought for the Lakers and sparked another run of dominance for the franchise.
The following year, the Lakers breezed through the playoffs, sweeping through three rounds in the Western Conference without a loss. After losing Game 1 of the '01 NBA Finals to the Philadelphia 76ers, the Lakers won the final four games, setting an NBA record with a 15-1 postseason mark.
The Sacramento Kings gave the Lakers a challenge in the 2002 playoffs, taking Los Angeles to seven games. However, in the NBA Finals, the Lakers swept the New Jersey Nets for their third consecutive NBA championship. It was the third time in Jackson's coaching history that his teams won three consecutive championships.
The strain of keeping tension between Bryant and O'Neal from boiling over began to wear on Jackson, and he frequently clashed with Bryant, who bristled under the structure of the triangle offense. The team came up short of a fourth consecutive Finals appearance in 2003 when they lost to the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference semifinals in six games.
The Lakers added star veterans Gary Payton and Karl Malone to the roster for the 2003-04 season and were considered favorites to win the title, but distractions plagued the team throughout the season. Things started off poorly for Jackson and the Lakers when Bryant was charged with sexual assault and put on trial, forcing him to fly back and forth between Colorado and Los Angeles at multiple points in the season (prosecutors later dropped the charges). The public sniping between O'Neal and Bryant as well as Jackson and Bryant continued throughout the season. Despite all the distractions, Jackson still coaxed the Lakers to a 56-win season and an appearance in the 2004 NBA Finals. However, the team lost to the Pistons in five games and quickly dissolved. Just days after the Finals -- Jackson's first Finals loss as a coach -- Jackson stepped down as coach of the Lakers. Later that summer, O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat, with Bryant remaining in Los Angeles as the last man standing from the Lakers' championship core.
In the fall of 2004, during a one-year hiatus from coaching, Jackson released "The Last Season," a book that detailed the Lakers' journey in the 2003-04 season. The book was particularly critical of Bryant, who Jackson at one point called "uncoachable."
Despite that, Jackson returned to the Lakers as the head coach for the 2005-06 season, where he was reunited with Bryant. Jackson signed a three-year contract worth $30 million, the highest annual salary for an NBA coach. Having made amends with Bryant, Jackson was faced with the challenge of a Lakers team that missed the playoffs during the 2004-05 campaign for the first time in eight seasons.
Jackson was able to lead the Lakers to 45 wins in the 2005-06 season, marking an 11-win increase from the previous season. However, at the time, it was the fewest wins Jackson had in an NBA season. Jackson experienced another dubious first that season, when the Lakers blew a 3-1 series lead against the Suns, losing in seven games and knocking Jackson out of the postseason in the first round for the first time in his career.
On Jan. 7, 2007, Jackson won his 900th regular-season game, reaching the mark in fewer games than any other NBA coach. The Lakers struggled once again in the 2006-07 season, finishing the year with a 42-40 record, the worst of Jackson's career. They were knocked out of the playoffs by the Suns in the first round for the second consecutive year, and Jackson finished the 2007 season having lost each of the last three playoff series he coached.
Despite that run, Jackson was re-energized in the 2007-08 season, and in December 2007, he signed a two-year extension, keeping him in L.A. through at least the 2009-10 season. The Lakers got another boost in midseason when they acquired Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies. The trade spurred the Lakers to the 2008 NBA Finals, Jackson's first Finals appearance since 2004. However, the trip resulted in Jackson's second career Finals loss, as the Boston Celtics prevented Jackson from surpassing Celtics legend Red Auerbach's nine titles.
That mark would not stand long. Jackson and the Lakers returned in 2008-09 rededicated to their championship mission. On Dec. 25, 2008, Jackson became the fastest NBA coach to win 1,000 regular-season games, reaching the mark in fewer games than any of the five previous coaches to get there. In the 2009 playoffs, Jackson's Lakers advanced to the NBA Finals against the Orlando Magic, where they won 4-1, giving Jackson his record-setting 10th coaching title.
Following the 2008-09 season, Jackson considered retirement again due to health concerns -- having had two hip replacements in the preceding three years -- but chose to return for another season with the Lakers, picking up his option worth approximately $12 million. On Feb. 3, 2010, Jackson became the Lakers' all-time leader in coaching wins, passing Pat Riley. The Lakers went on to win their second consecutive championship, defeating the Boston Celtics in seven games to give Jackson his 11th championship. It was the first time in Jackson's coaching career that he needed a deciding Game 7 to win a title.
Jackson once again contemplated retirement following the 2010 Finals, but announced on July 1, 2010 that he would return for another season. In August, he signed a one-year contract with the Lakers, declaring that it would be his final season, a point he reiterated throughout the season. The Lakers earned the 2-seed in the Western Conference and were considered one of the favorites to win the title, but they were swept by the Dallas Mavericks in the second round, marking the first time in Jackson's coaching career that he was on the losing end of a playoff sweep.
Nicknamed "The Zen Master," Jackson has a unique approach to coaching, using Eastern philosophy and Native American spiritual practices. He is known for his calm demeanor on the sideline during games and for his preference to let his teams play through poor stretches instead of calling timeouts.
Philip Douglas Jackson was born Sept. 17, 1945, in Deer Lodge, Mont., to Charles and Elisabeth Jackson. While he was growing up, Jackson's parents served as evangelical ministers. Because of the religious environment he grew up in, Jackson didn't see his first movie until the age of 17 and wasn't allowed to attend dances in high school.
Jackson is currently dating Jeanie Buss, Lakers executive vice president and daughter of owner Dr. Jerry Buss. He has five children (Ben, Charley, Brooke, Chelsea and Elizabeth), four of whom he had with his former wife, June.
In 2008, Jackson was presented with an honorary Doctorate of Letters from his alma mater, the University of North Dakota.
Jackson has six books to his credit:
"Take It All!" (1970) (with George Kalinsky)
"Maverick" (1975) (with Charley Rosen)
"Sacred Hoops: Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior" (1995) (with Hugh Delehanty)
"More Than a Game" (2001) (with Charley Rosen)
"The Last Season: A Team in Search of Its Soul" (2004) (with Michael Arkush)
"Journey to the Ring: Behind the Scenes with the 2010 NBA Champion Lakers" (2010)
In the autobiography "Maverick," Jackson went into detail about his experimental drug use, including LSD, during his playing career. It's thought to be one of the reasons why Jackson didn't land his first head coaching job until 1987.
PHIL JACKSON QUICK FACTS
Birth date: Sept. 17, 1945
Birthplace: Deer Lodge, MT
College: University of North Dakota
Career as head coach: 1989-1998, Bulls
Career W-L: 1155-485 (.704)
Coaching Titles: 11 (1991-1993, 1996-1998, 2000-2002, 2008-2009)
Basketball Hall of Fame: Inducted in 2007
TIMELINE OF A ZEN MASTER
Phil Jackson, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007, is the league leader in career playoff victories and playoff winning percentage, and has won 11 championships. ESPN.com takes you on a journey through the Zen Master's career.
PHIL JACKSON CAREER COACHING RECORD
PHIL JACKSON CAREER PLAYING STATS