Phil Jackson on a possible coaching comeback: ‘I’m kidding myself’
Legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson has made it clear that his flirtation with returning to the Lakers’ bench last fall isn’t going to happen again.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Jackson, who has been retired since 2011, squelched any possibility of a return to coaching this week, saying that he has “no intention” of adding another chapter to his Hall of Fame career.
“Sometimes I feel I can still get out there and do it but the reality is I’m kidding myself,” Jackson said at a Live Talks Los Angeles event at the Alex Theatre in Glendale on Wednesday.
“When I was done I knew I was done — physically it was over,” he said. “Even though after I got a knee replacement and a prostatectomy in the last year and a half.”
Jackson was diagnosed with prostate cancer midway through his final season, but has since recovered.
“It’s those long flights and three o’clock nights — getting up after five hours of sleep and going back to work, those are the things that wear you out.”
Jackson, 67, was linked to a return to the Lakers’ bench after former coach Mike Brown was fired following a 1-4 start in November. Lakers executive vice president Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak reportedly met with Jackson before hiring Mike D’Antoni.
In 20 years as a coach with the Bulls and Lakers, Jackson compiled a record of 1,155-485 (.704). Jackson ranks fifth all time in regular-season victories and he never missed the playoffs, winning six titles with the Bulls and five more with the Lakers. Jackson ranks first in postseason victories (229) and winning percentage (.688, 229-104).
Since retiring, Jackson has said the possibility of a return to coaching is “slim and none.” That hasn’t stopped his name from regularly popping up in rumors over the last year, although nothing has come to fruition.
In April, Jackson confirmed that he had discussed a potential front-office role with a number of organizations. He was briefly linked to the Raptors as a possible front-office candidate and he served as a consultant for the Pistons during their recent coaching search, which ended with the hiring of Thunder assistant Maurice Cheeks.
Jackson has spent the last few months promoting his new book, Eleven Rings. He started a Twitter account and made headlines when he said Michael Jordan was a better leader, shooter and defender than Kobe Bryant. Jackson backed off those comments a bit, but then set off another round of stories when he said he would pick Celtics great Bill Russell over Jordan if he were starting a franchise from scratch.