On Monday evening in Memphis, Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson revealed the results of an aptitude test put on by the NBA Player’s Association that he took after retiring as a player:
- Outdoor adventurer
- Nursery school teacher
Thank goodness for the Lakers – and the Chicago Bulls, for that matter – that he decided to become a basketball coach.
When the Lakers beat the Charlotte Bobcats 99-97 on Wednesday night in Los Angeles, Jackson won his 534th game for the Purple and Gold, surpassing Showtime era coach Pat Riley for the most wins in franchise history.
“It’s been a really good run,” said Jackson, who has claimed four of his 10 NBA titles with the Lakers. “Having this opportunity to coach this team is special. The fact that we’ve had some great teams, great players, is always a credit to them.
“My staff, the guys who help me prepare this team for the games … all those ingredients going into this. It’s not really an individual record in my mind, it’s a team (accomplishment).”
After victory No. 534, Lamar Odom was asked what it’s been like to play for the league’s top coach in terms of both championships and winning percentage.
“Incredible,” said Odom. “Every day I learn something new. He understands people, personalities. Meshing them together is a big deal in basketball.”
That Jackson passed Riley is particularly interesting since the two entered the NBA together as players in 1967, and coached against each other throughout the 1990′s.
“We’ve known each other for a long time,” said Jackson. “We competed against each other in a lot of ways, so there’s some significance to that. I respect his game tremendously and his coaching style too, so that’s something that I take with pride.”
Jackson concluded that while he’ll take the wins, the true measure of a coach and a team is championships won. His only goal for this season, of course, is to help claim title number 16 for the Lakers.