NBA Finals NBA Finals


Top of his game

Lakers' Jackson has reached new heights in coaching

Posted: Thursday June 13, 2002 1:36 AM
Updated: Thursday June 13, 2002 3:22 AM
  Phil Jackson, Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant After the win, Phil Jackson admitted he'd love to return to the NBA Finals for a shot at a 10th title as a coach. Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Phil Jackson seemed in a daze when it was over, trying to digest his many accomplishments.

"It is remarkable that I'm sitting here in a situation I never dreamed of," he said.

Jackson quit his job as coach of the CBA's Albany Patroons in 1987 after five years on the job, figuring he'd never become an NBA coach and graduate school might be a better direction.

Now, after his Los Angeles Lakers beat New Jersey 113-107 Wednesday night to complete a sweep of the NBA Finals, he could only shake his head.

  • Jackson-coached teams have won 24 straight playoff series.

  • Jackson has coached nine NBA champions to tie the record of Boston's Red Auerbach.

  • Jackson-coached teams have won a record 156 playoff games -- one more than Pat Riley. Jackson's teams are 156-55; Riley's teams were 155-100.

  • Jackson-coached teams have won three straight championships three times. Only two other teams, the Minneapolis Lakers (1952-54) and the Boston Celtics (1959-66) have accomplished that feat.

    Head of the Class
    All-time career playoff
    coaching victories
    Coach  Wins 
    Phil Jackson  156  
    Pat Riley  155 
    Red Auerbach  99 
    K.C. Jones  81 
    Lenny Wilkens  80 
    Jerry Sloan  77 
    Chuck Daly  75 
    Billy Cunningham  66 
    Larry Brown  64 
    John Kundla  60 

    The Chicago Bulls hired Jackson as an assistant coach to Doug Collins in 1988, and after two seasons in that role, Collins was fired and Jackson was promoted.

    He won six titles in nine years as the Bulls' head coach and another three in as many years with the Lakers.

    That's nine championships in 12 years.

    "How fortunate I am to be here, what great teams I've had to play with, to coach with," Jackson said. "I just look forward to the next one and great hopes that I have an anticipation of getting back here again for a 10th opportunity."

    Jackson dedicated this championship to the late Red Holzman, his coach when he played for the New York Knicks.

    "I know he'd be thinking and praying for me wherever he's at and whatever form he's in," Jackson said. "This is a big moment for me and for him."

    Jackson made special mention of 80-year-old Lakers assistant Tex Winter, who's been around for all nine championships and originated the triangle offense.

    "He's a big part of what I've done," Jackson said. "I wanted to give him a lot of credit."

    Winter has said this might be his final year in coaching.

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