SportsNation Blog ArchivesSN Blog Archives 2009 NBA Finals

Red Auerbach went 29-35 as the coach of the Tri-Cities Blackhawks during the 1949-50 NBA season (perhaps he didn't push the right buttons with Mike Todorovich or Whitey Von Neida). Pat Riley lost 57 games in 2002-03, left coaching, and then lost 67 in 2007-08. But Phil Jackson? He's never had a losing season in the NBA.

So while his Lakers haven't yet wrapped up business against the Magic in the NBA Finals this season, and we do have a tendency to make every big game or title run the greatest of all time, is he, you know, the greatest of all time?

It's no contest among active coaches. SportsNation gave Jackson 61 percent of the vote, leaving Bill Belichick, Joe Torre, Gregg Popovich and Tony La Russa to split the rest. But what about putting him up against the biggest names ever to patrol a basketball sideline? Alonzo Mourning may have said Jackson is "just showing up" while Kobe Bryant does the legwork, but what's your take?


How's this: Line up every NBA player, and ask them to choose (under the same contract) which coach they'd rather have on their sidelines. What do you suppose the outcome would be?

-- vweaver69

What are we supposed to do, blame Jackson for having the talent on the teams he has coached? Jackson has done as much as you can ask for a coach to do: coach his teams to be able to let their talent meet expectations. With every team Jackson has coached those teams have managed to meet their potential by going deep into the playoffs, time and time again.

-- davewah3


Los Angeles Lakers, 2009 NBA Finals