Phil Jackson has gone on the record more than once saying he’s not going to return to coaching since being left at the altar by the Lakers near the beginning of last season.
It may or may not have anything to do with the level of desire Jackson still has to compete in that capacity. Rather, the toll that the travel grind of an 82-game season would take on his health has seemed to be at the forefront of his thoughts anytime the topic has been broached.
Jackson attended a class reunion this weekend in Williston, North Dakota, and spent some time with the local media there. And he reiterated once more that his coaching days are through.
Williston High School graduate Phil Jackson was in town this weekend for his 50th high school class reunion as well as to speak at the Banquet of Champions for the 13-year-old Babe Ruth World Series.
During the press conference, Jackson made it clear he has no intentions of returning to coach.
“I have no intention of coaching,” he said. “I am still recovering from multiple surgeries.”
Jackson is currently experiencing back problems, which require him to use a walking cane.
Until and unless Jackson is able to get to the point where he’d be completely healthy enough to patrol the sidelines once more, whether or not he wants to coach again is a moot point.
Lakers fans can chant “we want Phil” all they want during times when their team struggles next season, but it simply isn’t going to happen. Now, could it happen the following season, with current assistant coach Kurt Rambis easing the transition or perhaps even sharing the head coaching duties with Jackson so he wouldn’t have to travel as much?
Of course. And LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony could be on the squad by then, too. It just isn’t the most likely of scenarios.
Jeanie Buss, who has an ownership stake in the Lakers and is also Jackson’s fiancee, believes Jackson isn’t done coaching for good. One never knows what the future may hold, but at this point, it appears to be a long shot at best.