Legendary Opinions: Dr. J And Phil Jackson Pick Spurs Over Heat In NBA Finals

2013 NBA Finals
2013 NBA Finals
Jun 5 2013 Miami FL USA San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan reacts during practice for game one of the 2013 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena Derick E Hingle USA TODAY Sports

Not everyone sees an easy Finals win in the Heat’s future. The Doctor of the Hardwood Julius Erving and the Master of the Zen Phil Jackson both see the Spurs unseating the Heat from their perch. The 2013 NBA Finals just became a game of legendary cosigns and thrones.

Between the two, Dr. J and Phil have 14 championship rings and 20 Finals appearances (16 and 22 if you include Erving’s ABA years). So, needless to say, their opinions carry some weight.

Dr. J made his prediction Wednesday while speaking to Xfinity Live at the South Philadelphia Sports Complex. Unlike most NBA legends, he still has a front seat when it comes to NBA analysis and opinions as he serves as a consultant to the 76ers owners. He expects no less than a “blood-and-guts” style matchup, but has a clear favorite. Though one of his sons is a devout LeBron James fan, and he sees LeBron climbing in the best-ever conversation, Erving likes the Spurs as champions.

Phil’s prediction was a bit more rushed, coming during a brief exchange while at a book signing event, but Jackson has never been one to make brash decisions when it comes to basketball. Even when the Lakers organization asked him this past Fall to take over the 2012-13 Dwight-accessorized team, he decided to mull over the decision. Of course, that turned out to cost him the job. But as a master tactician, one of the best ever even if his star-studded pupils helped his legacy some, it’s hard not to believe that Jackson makes calculated predictions every year on who’ll end up as NBA champion. Every winner detracts from his legacy, every loser adds to it.

In regards to this decision, there’s plenty of opportunity to let the personal override the objective. The Spurs knocked out the Lakers twice in the playoffs while Jackson was coaching them. He could resent Popovich and Tim D. for that. There’s also bad blood between Pat Riley and him. Add that outside opinions never decide championships, the personnel (including active coaches) playing does, and hearing from Phil and Dr. J might not matter at all.

But opinions to NBA greats don’t come lightly, unless you’re Charles Barkley. After all, opinions can be the difference between a coaching decision, team chemistry, or a split-decision play, all of which can ultimately cost you a trophy. Julius Erving and Phil Jackson have 14 of them between them.

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Bogar Alonso
Bogar Alonso is a dedicated student of the hardwood, soccer pitch, boxing ring, and tennis court. He is a regular NBA contributor to XN Sports. His work, involving more than just sports, has appeared on The Creators Project, A&E Networks, XXL Magazine, and others. Follow Bogar on Twitter @blacktiles