Posted March 30, 2013

Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson joins Twitter

Ben Golliver, Chicago Bulls, Jeanie Buss, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson, right, has joined Kobe Bryant on Twitter. (Glenn James/Getty Images)

By Ben Golliver

Legendary ex-NBA coach and player Phil Jackson joined Twitter on Wednesday, although his first attempt at using the social networking service was a bit rocky.

“11 champ;ipnsikp[ ringhs,” Jackson tweeted.

ESPNLA.com reported that Jackson’s typos were an “intentional blunder,” meant as a play on the fact that it’s difficult to type while sporting championship hardware on his fingers.

The 2007 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee’s decision to join Twitter was announced by his fiancee, Lakers executive vice president Jeanie Buss. His account, which bears the handle @PhilJackson11, collected more than 48,000 followers within an hour of his first message and has been officially verified. The image accompanying Jackson’s Twitter account is a photo of his 11 championship rings. Jackson won six coaching Michael Jordan’s Bulls in the 1990s and five more from 1999 to 2010 as coach of the Lakers. He won two additional titles as a member of the 1969-70 and 1972-73 Knicks, but he was sidelined for the entire 1969-70 season due to injury.

Jackson, 67, just happens to have written a new book that will be released on May 21. Written with Hugh Delahanty, the book is titled, you guessed it, Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success.

During his storied career as head coach of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, Phil Jackson won more championships than any coach in the history of professional sports. Even more important, he succeeded in never wavering from coaching his way, from a place of deep values. Jackson was tagged as the “Zen master” half in jest by sportswriters, but the nickname speaks to an important truth: this is a coach who inspired, not goaded; who led by awakening and challenging the better angels of his players’ nature, not their egos, fear, or greed.

This is the story of a preacher’s kid from North Dakota who grew up to be one of the most innovative leaders of our time. In his quest to reinvent himself, Jackson explored everything from humanistic psychology and Native American philosophy to Zen meditation. In the process, he developed a new approach to leadership based on freedom, authenticity, and selfless teamwork that turned the hypercompetitive world of professional sports on its head.

Back in January, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, one of Jackson’s star pupils, ended a years-long holdout by joining Twitter. Also in January, Buss announced that Jackson proposed marriage to her over the Christmas holidays and posted a photo of her diamond engagement ring.

It’s been a fairly quiet few months for Jackson, all things considered. When the Lakers fired coach Mike Brown after just five games in November, Jackson’s name emerged as one of the leading candidates to replace him. Out of coaching since 2011, Jackson met with Lakers executives, who ultimately hired Mike D’Antoni instead. When that dust settled, Jackson’s named was linked in rumors to the Nets coaching job and a possible management position with the Kings franchise, should it relocate to Seattle next season.

Jackson holds a career coaching record of 1,155-485 (.704). In addition to his 11 rings, his Bulls and Lakers teams qualified for the playoffs in all 20 of his seasons on the bench.

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