Phil Jackson Talks Artest, Cuban, Etc.

Below is a transcript of a selection of Phil Jackson’s comments in his regular media session prior to L.A.’s Tuesday evening home game against Detroit, including Jackson’s reactions to a “man-to-man” confrontation with Ron Artest at practice and some comments from Mark Cuban.

You can also listen to the audio by clicking play at the bottom of the post.

On if a Yahoo! report referring to a practice confrontation initiated by Ron Artest were accurate:
Jackson: No, that’s not accurate. But it’s close to accurate. It was not a loud confrontation, it was a man-to-man confrontation. It was obviously out of character for both that to happen in practice and for Ron. It wasn’t about (my) embarrassing (Ron) in public, it was about some of the issues that had been brought up and were focused (on) him. It was direct, but it wasn’t loud … It’s nothing more than what could normally happen at a practice. Obviously there is a spy, or camera, or leak or something went on at our practice, but those are the things that happen at practice. It’s not the first time, and it’s not going to be the last. Ron came in and apologized not only to me but in front of the team for what he said was a distraction at practice. That was his own desire to do so, I didn’t solicit it from him.

In Ron’s defense, I’ve been trying to motivate him through a variety of activities, starting from the very beginning. Talking about his activity level, and sometimes about his bizarre behavior. He wants it to be in private. I just said, ‘Don’t act it out in public and then we can keep it private.’

On if the conversation will affect the way Jackson interacts with Artest:
Jackson: Sure.

On Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban’s comments to his assessment of Caron Butler’s injury:
Jackson: Mark must be really worried. If he’s got to comment on that, he must be really worried. I feel badly for (the Mavericks), that’s what I was saying. It’s hard to replace a player that good. They do have a good player that’s sitting behind him. Shawn (Marion) is a fine player, but it’s not Caron Butler. It’s hard to replace a player like that.

On Cuban referring to Jackson as Lakers VP Jeanie Buss’s “Boy Toy.”
Jackson: I love it. I consider myself an old man. That I’m a “Boy Toy,” that’s terrific … Mark gets riled up when I make comments about his team, but they were leading the league. It’s a big blow to a team that’s playing that well.

On why he feels reactions to the comments he makes are so strong:
Jackson: They must be misconstrued. Either that, or the tenor in which I say them must not go the same way as the tenor of what the conversation is about. The one that is probably the most egregious is the Houston thing about disrespecting Rudy (Tomjanovich), because that was so off the cuff and so solicited by the reporter itself that it was kind of unfair to take those things on.