Phil Jackson: Season-Ending Presser

blog_090619philjacksonAfter addressing the media hundreds of times throughout the 2008-09 championship season, Jackson did it one final time at L.A.’s practice facility. Here are highlights of the presser:

- First, Jackson was asked what he talked about with President Barak Obama: “Basically I told him that sometimes when you’re lefty, you have to go right to shoot the ball.” Jackson added that they talked about when the team would be able to go to the White House, which could come prior to the season (sometime in October) or perhaps when the team is on an East Coast trip early next season.

- The “early next season” reference of course begged the question of if Jackson would return: “I haven’t made that decision. Mitch (Kupchak) and I have talked about it a little the last few days. There are a couple of (health-related) appointments I still have that have to be fulfilled before I (make that decision).”

- More Jackson on health: “I feel good … I had some issues this year that showed up particularly on road trips that concerned me and our health staff a little bit.”

- Jackson was asked if he felt like it was an either/or situation with Trevor Ariza and Lamar Odom: “I’m convinced that we can get both of these guys back to play. Obviously it’s going to take sacrifices on many parts. Dr. Buss is going to have to make sacrifices at some parts … But it’s possible to (get it done).

- On potential for repeating: “Once you learn how to win it helps so much more. Age wise certainly favors this team’s” chance to win more championships.

- Jackson said it wasn’t all cookies and ice cream in the exit interviews with players: “This is a challenge. I have to challenge some of the players. Some didn’t perform up to the standards I wanted. It wasn’t all pats on the back and have a great summer, this is going to be three or four months of (hard work) if we’re going to come back.”

- Phil on Kobe potentially restructuring a deal: “He has an opportunity to do that too (Shaq, Garnett, Tim Duncan). That’s an option that Kobe does hold.” But Jackson said his advice to Kobe is to “Do what he feels right for himself.”

- There is a date in Jackson’s contract that is “closing in fast” for him to decide, but it’s all pending his health tests. If the tests are favorable, there is “no doubt” that Jackson would come back. Kupchak said that date was mutually agreed upon but not set in stone, and that the team expects to know in no more than three weeks what Jackson will do.

- Jackson was asked from where he gets some inspiration to keep coaching … His answer was the players.

- After being pulled into the championship locker room huddle, Jackson thought: “Boy this is cold.” … I felt at that moment that their joy was passed on to me.”

- Phil cited Games 5 and 6 against Denver in the Western Conference Finals as the Lakers really figuring out how to play the type of basketball urged by Jackson and Tex Winter that, to his mind, made them deserving of being champions.

- And in closing, a summary of how pleasing it was to lead his team: “Obviously you guys know that Kobe, Fish and I have a long-standing relationship … 10 years. Except for one year when there was a little hiatus (2004), this has been an ongoing relationship. Those guys know the heartbeat of what goes on this team, how I work and what pace I work at. As co-captains they are very capable leaders. Pau is as an intelligent and skilled big man as I’ve ever had … A really great basketball mind. With that kind of base, everyone else followed behind really well. We were concerned about all the minutes Kobe and Pau played, but they were right away game to come out and play … They were ready to play at the start of the year and from that standpoint I was very pleased with these guys. Their desire was to win this championship regardless of how we get it accomplished and what we had to sacrifice. That’s the best thing a coach can hear.”