What Does Phil Jackson's Essay Tell Us About His Potential NBA Return?

By Lucas Rubio
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Wall Street Journal published a piece penned by Phil Jackson on Thursday in which Jackson describes “autumn at his Montana lake home, when harvesting the season’s last vegetables provide time for reflection.”

The piece is pretty much a bad imitation of E.B. White’s “Once More to the Lake,” and Jackson perhaps drew some of his inspiration for using a lake as the center of his philosophical ruminations from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. But rather than making fun of Jackson for writing bad lines, like to concentrate on the clues in the essay that inform us of Jackson’s future in the NBA.

Although Jackson admits that he has no “big projects” right now, he nonetheless is “searching for a vision to pilot” him in the future. If Jackson has no big projects, it sounds to me like he at least has the ambition for big projects.

Jackson also talks about his desire to “make sense out of change.” I would be tempted to assume that the “change” Jackson’s struggling to make sense of represents his difficulty adapting to retirement, but Jackson retired more than two years ago. It’s more likely, then, that this change actually represents Jackson’s decision to transition out of retirement.

Undertones of the NBA riddle the essay throughout. Jackson starts out the essay with a mention of his life “bouncing around the NBA circuit” by recounting his career with the New York Knicks, the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers, and he also writes about how each of his NBA championships began as a “vision” — a vision, it just so happens, that was born “in silence” while at the lake.

Jackson returned to that lake for Labor Day this year. And after reading his essay in the Journal, it’s clear Jackson spent most of his time reliving those championships and his days in the NBA. These clues point to Jackson’s desire to come out of retirement and “join the dance,” as he puts it (actually, as Alan Watts puts it, who Jackson quotes). Jackson even admits he’s “antsy about moving on.”

Could that dance be the NBA? Could it be a new job with the Lakers?

Since Jackson’s wife also happens to be Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, Jackson’s already forced to deal with the preparations of a the 2013-14 NBA season. And it sounds like that’s exactly what Jackson dealt with at the lake this year. If Jackson’s not quite ready to negotiate a job with the Lakers so that he can once again “join the dance,” he at least is listening to the music.

Lucas Rubio is a columnist for RantSports.com and author of the Playerz League Sports Blog. Follow him on Twitter @PlayerzLeague.

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