Top of his game
Lakers' Jackson has reached new heights in coachingPosted: Thursday June 13, 2002 1:36 AM
Updated: Thursday June 13, 2002 3:22 AM
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.
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.