When the Lakers are struggling — for example, losing four in a row like they have now — Phil Jackson usually tries to lighten the mood at his press conferences.
Joking, funny Phil Jackson, who sounds a lot like regular Phil Jackson so unless you’re around him a lot it can be hard to tell. Wednesday it was comedian Jackson talking to the media after the game.
The Orange County Register’s Kevin Ding got the distinction and tried to play it up in his story.
Asked about Rudy Tomjanovich’s chances of making the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, Jackson smiled and said he was supportive of everyone, including his former colleague Kevin Loughery, who despite being such a “loser” in his coaching record was just a great guy.
Asked if Tomjanovich’s two titles as Rockets coach should have asterisks next to them because they came with Michael Jordan away from Jackson’s Chicago Bulls, Jackson smiled and said: “Definitely! No doubt about it!”
But if you are not used to being around Jackson and don’t get his tone and humor, or you just read the words Jackson said, not listening to the audio, you get the impression Jackson was smacking around Rudy T., a former Lakers coach and current scout. That seems to have made the rounds. But this comes off to those around him more like Jackson’s sense of humor, albeit he was a bit cranky that day.
So everyone — chill out. It’s Friday, let it go and head to happy hour a little earlier.