Phil Jackson Presses On In Building Knicks In His Image

Phil Jackson
Phil Jackson
Brad Penner USA TODAY Sports

Dear Mr. Triangle Offense, welcome to the off-centered world of the New York Knicks.

Surely by now Phil Jackson realizes he’s happened upon a Garden littered with so much roughage a prodigy you spend months and months openly courting can grow more and more leery of walking that path the more you provide them the chance; one where the landscape is so checkered an entire city can now salivate at the prospect of a native son being entrusted with cultivating the homeland, all except the man who stands to make the call and just so happens to be the one person most qualified to do so.

I say all that to say the bright lights and dim prospects of New York seemingly scared the bejesus out of the  mild-mannered, ultra-sensitive Steve Kerr and Jackson hasn’t quite warmed to the thought of handing the reigns of the roster to Mark Jackson.

So what now? What now when the question of who will be Jackson’s apprentice hire is raising all the fanfare of a Donald Trump orchestrated bakeoff between the likes of, say, Omarosa and Gary Busey?

It’s that level of drama that unfolds when the future of such a storied franchise is on the line. Truth is, no matter what comes to be born of their somewhat strange alliance, the legacy of Phil Jackson will more than survive. The Knicks, at least over the short-term and in terms of holding any real relevancy, could be another matter altogether.

The franchise last won an NBA title 37 years ago and one wrong move here could seemingly condemn fans of the team to a drought at least twice as long when factoring in the overriding disappointment of having it now happen under the watch of someone as revered as Jackson has come to be.

To their credit, albeit after years upon years of being hit over the head by their own ineptness, the Knicks finally have done the right thing in installing Jackson as the face of their brand, even at the astronomical rumored costs of at least $12 annually. The 68-year-old and 13-time NBA champion knows the look of a winner and is committed to crafting the Knicks in his image, no matter who you might see manning the sidelines on any given night.

The Phil Jackson I know has surely already moved on from the specter of the Kerr debacle and is probably at least entertaining the thought of giving Jackson an audience, as most any GM worth their salt might when presented with a candidate who led a long morbid franchise such as the Golden State Warriors to back-to-back playoff berths and their first 50 win season in nearly two decades.

The most prominent name — that being Kerr — has changed but in Phil Jackson’s mind the game undoubtedly remains the same, meaning Jackson is still aiming at hiring a young, still receptive to be molded coach he can mentor and train in the ways of all his otherworldly experiences. Think Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra in Miami.

Need we say more?  About either the way things are now progressing in South Beach where the Heat are currently seeking to become the first team not coached by Jackson over the last two decades to win an NBA three-peat or Jackson’s overall body of work?

Phil Jackson may have lost his first battle in landing the caretaker he once most desired, but in the end, knowing the Zen Master as most of Hoops Nation has come to, you best believe the seeds are yet being planted for a much richer New York Knicks uprising.


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Glenn Minnis
Glenn Minnis is an XN Sports NBA contributor. He has written for the Chicago Tribune, ESPN, BET and AOL. Follow him on Twitter at @glennnyc.