The Los Angeles Lakers wanted Phil Jackson to return as the head coach last season after the organization fired Mike Brown after a mere five games. However, a reportedly absurd list of demands forced Los Angeles to hire Mike D’Antoni instead. Apparently, it all worked out for the best as Jackson did not have any business returning to the sidelines.
“Sometimes I feel I can still get out there and do it but the reality is I’m kidding myself,” Jackson said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“When I was done I knew I was done—physically it was over,” he continued. “It’s those long flights and three o’clock nights—getting up after five hours of sleep and going back to work, those are the things that wear you out.”
The fact is the 67-year-old does not need to prove anything. Adding one more championship ring to make 14 (11 from coaching, two as a player) is not going to make a lick of a difference in the big scheme of things. He is still regarded as one of the greatest NBA coaches of all time and nothing is going to improve on that at this point.
It may be hard to leave the game that he clearly loves so much, but there are other jobs he can pursue in the NBA that does not involve coaching. In fact, there is a good chance executive jobs are going to be sprouting up left and right very soon, especially since he is trying to help turn the Lakers franchise around.
“I’m trying to counsel (Lakers part owner and his fiancée Jeanie Buss) on ways the team can improve,” Jackson said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “They’re a mess. We know that because of their financial disorder right now, that’s the thing they have to get straight right away.”
It is certainly a smart move for Jackson to put the coaching days behind him. Personally, I would rather spend the millions of dollars and sit on a beach somewhere while enjoying retirement. However, if he still wants to be involved in the NBA then more power to him.