By Dominique Carter
For the past three years, Phil Jackson has been the executive of the New York Knicks and has led them to records of 17-65 (2014-15), 32-50 (2015-2016), and 31-51 (2016-2017) before inevitably parting ways with the team. While these poor records may not have completely been Jackson’s fault, there is a lot of evidence to show that his presence is definitely part of the reason that his team hasn’t been successful since the start of his tenure. Here are a few mistakes that Jackson made that should teach everybody how not to run their professional and personal lives:
1. Lack of Adaptation
Jackson is widely considered one of the greatest NBA coaches of all time due to his success, winning 11 championships in two decades with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. His style of coaching was known as the triangle offense, which I don’t know exactly what it is, but I know that it worked for him. One major problem is that not a lot of the players or coaches know exactly what that is either. It may have been successful for players such as Kobe Bryant, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Jordan and his other championship winning players who are generational talents, with all four being arguably the top 30 all time, but he was the direct head coach, so he was able to explain everything he wanted at practices and on the sideline during games. His goal in getting a player/coach, rather than get the best player/coach available, was to get one that fit in and understood the triangle. While the theory of, “if it works, keep going with it” doesn’t hurt in most cases, once you start to see that it isn’t working the way you intend it to, it’s normally time to try a new approach. Rather than trying to work in the best interest of the team , he tried to force his methods on the whole organization, which began to cause resentment among the players.
2. Public Mistreatment
And while forcing yourself is one way to make yourself resented, mistreatment is the biggest way to make sure nobody wants you around. And most, if not all, of the mistreatment was directed at one player, Carmelo Anthony. No matter how you feel about Anthony, whether on the court or his personal life, Jackson was initially the one that wanted to keep him more than he probably wanted to stay, giving him a five year deal with $124 million and a no trade clause. As the team has been underperforming since his tenure though, Jackson has been increasingly looking for ways to get rid of Anthony in order to rebuild. Because of the no trade clause that he gave Anthony though, it’s going to be Anthony’s own incentive to leave, rather than allow Jackson to just trade him like any other player. Because of that, Jackson has been basically been telling the world that he doesn’t want him on the team anymore and talking down on him as a person and a player. While the idea could work in the short term, that isn’t a good look for prospective free agents to want to go there if they know that they may get slandered in public, or even in private, if they under perform. That’s why when Brandon Jennings was traded to Washington, he said something like, “it feels like people actually like each other here” and Kristaps Porzingis skipped the exit meeting.
3. Allowing His Personal Feelings To Get In The Way
And the most recent, and last, move that Jackson made with the Knicks, was considering trading who some people claim is the only thing he’s done right since he’s been there, Porzingis. The reason isn’t because of anything related to the court though. He specifically said that he just didn’t know how to feel about a player missing an exit interview, because it never happened to him before. If the meeting was mandatory and he skipped, then some form of discipline is okay, but to consider trading somebody because of it is a bit extreme. And at the end of the day, that’s where it all went wrong for Jackson. He allowed his personal attachment to the triangle to stop the team from progressing. He allowed his negative feelings about Anthony build resentment within the team and potentially scare away other free agents, and his disappointment made him consider trading the centerpiece of his team away.
Again, the state of the team was not completely Jackson’s fault. But, we should all learn from his mistakes. T
he best way to run our lives is to learn to adapt to new situations and not be stubborn, to treat everybody we come in contact with with respect, and to never allow our personal feelings to compromise any situation that we’re in.
If you guys have anything to add, or don’t agree with something, leave it in the comments below. Take Care – Dommy C