In what can only be described as the opposite of a stunning revelation, Phil Jackson has said good things about Michael Jordan. This time it was about Jordan the team owner.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for him,” Jackson said before the Los Angeles Lakers’ game against the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday. “I think it’s also an opportunity for Charlotte to get to kind of embrace basketball again. This was a team that led the NBA in attendance for maybe 10 years. They had a big arena, they fell in love with their Hornets team back in the late ’80s and ’90s and they had some great draft picks and they had some wonderful runs with their team….
“As far as ownership goes and general manager, I think there are a lot of players that are capable of doing that job,” Jackson said. “You just have to be able to connive a little bit and be able to manipulate agents and I think those are things that it takes a poker player sometimes to do that….
“I don’t think there’s any discussion about knowing talent,” Jackson said. “He sees talent and knows talent pretty well. I think he understands that concept. I think a lot of key players see those ingredients in other players that can match that [like] Jerry West kind of picking up on Kobe Bryant being that kind of a player when he was a high school guy.”
Michael Jordan picked up on Kwame Brown as a high school guy and… okay, bad example.
Jackson gets asked about Jordan in pregame talks all the time (usually in comparing him to Kobe or LeBron James). You can still sense the respect there when he talks about Jordan. And he almost never says a bad word about him. But then, as a coach, you don’t want to cross an owner (unless Jackson is talking about Mark Cuban, then all bets are off).