This last tour around the NBA for Phil Jackson has not really been all that filled with fanfare. Probably because he insulted every city he’s been in, then his teams went out and generally stomped the opponent. Not the way one generates a lot of love.
But Madison Square Garden, that’s different.
That’s where he played and won a title as a Knick. That was home to some epic clashes with his Chicago Bulls. That is where his Lakers have put on some shows. That’s where his Lakers are Friday night. Where he may be for the last time.
Which brings us to a great piece of reporting by Howard Beck of the New York Times to sit down with Jackson and talk about those memories.
“As many great games have been played there, I think I’ve been in a ton of them,” Jackson said Wednesday, reminiscing (but only a little) over lunch. “It’s probably the most familiar building I have in my history as a player and coach…”
New York is different — “a magical place to live,” Jackson said — and the Garden represents more than basketball. (Kobe) Bryant understands it. Over the years he has heard Jackson tell countless stories, some funny, some poignant, about his Knicks days. This trip to the Garden will be different.
“He’ll never show it because he’s always a coach that stays in the present,” Bryant said of Friday’s visit. “But I’m sure it means something to him.”
Jackson tends to come off as detached from the world, but there are things that mean a lot to him. New York does. Madison Square Garden does. And so the usual distance Jackson keeps may be closed a little tonight as his Lakers take on the Knicks.
Do yourself a favor, go read the entire NYT story. It’s great stuff.
Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid has a certain sense of humor, one that has embraced former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie’s motto of “Trust the Process” as a kind of personal mantra and brand.
Embiid has apparently taken it a step further, showing off custom sneakers on Snapchat of his “Trust the Process” shoes.
You read that right.
The inside tongue of a pair of kicks Embiid was rocking on Saturday read in all lowercase letters the phrase we now associate with the Cameroonian center.
Embiid famously dubbed himself “The Process” and even filed for a trademark on the language in order to sell merchandise no doubt to be with us shortly.
Keep it coming, Joel. Absolutely each and every one of these are great.
Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James is one of the best basketball players ever, and on Friday night he passed Elvin Hayes for 9th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
Now, LeBron has accomplished a feat that is all his own.
During a game against the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday, James became the first player to log 27,000 points, 7,000 rebounds, and 7,000 assists.
Being alone in those categories is incredibly special, and is a marker to how James has played his entire career as a revolutionary point forward.
James is not only 9th in scoring, but 16th in assists. Statistical averages suggest he will end the season somewhere around 12th all-time in passing.
Timofey Mozgov is not an MVP candidate, but that didn’t stop one fan from starting a chant while the Los Angeles Lakers C was at the free-throw line on Friday night against the Phoenix Suns.
May I just say this: Bless this fan.
As Mozgov went to the line midway through the first quarter, someone within earshot of ESPN’s parabolic microphones started a chant for the Russian big man.
It was quiet during Mozgov’s first free throw, but during the second more fans at Staples joined in to the point where it was impossible to ignore it.
This is what having a fun at a basketball game looks like. Too good.
Cleveland Cavaliers veteran Richard Jefferson has a legendary Snapchat account, and I think it just got even better.
During a video posted to Jefferson’s account on Saturday, viewers were able to see a point-of-view account of what it’s like to be an NBA player practicing 3-pointers and dunking down lob passes.
Thanks to a pair of Snapchat Spectacles — a video camera in a set of glasses and paired with the social application — Jefferson gave us a taste of what it’s like to be an NBA player, if only for a moment.
I think it’s pretty cool to see from his perspective. Thanks to the evolution of wearable technology and 3D viewing equipment this is probably just a very small preview of what our viewing experience for the NBA is going to be like in 10-15 years.