Phil Jackson Boasts with Special Red Auerbach X Hat for 10 Titles
With a 99-86 win in Game 5, the Lakers won their 15th NBA championship in franchise history. The series win gave coach Phil Jackson his record 10th title — six with the Bulls and four with the Lakers. Jackson now stands ahead of Red Auerbach who had won nine NBA titles, and he wore a hat at the post-game ceremony to commemorate his career. Check out the Roman Numberal “X” hat representing Phil’s 10 titles.
It was yellow with purple stitching to represent the Lakers’ colors and it had the years of each title on the sides of the cap. Phil said his kids made the hat for him and even though he was deflecting the blame to them, there’s no doubt he was boasting by putting it on as soon as he won. He didn’t need to do that but you can understand why he was proud. My guess is this is the last game he ever coaches because of his deteriorating health (have you seen him try to move around since the hip replacement surgery?).
Now the obvious question that comes up is how good of a coach is Phil? Stan Van Gundy says that Phil’s accomplishments are incomprehensible which is pretty true. Given the right situation though, some coach in the future could approach his numbers — say Mike D’Antoni should LeBron, Wade and Amare all go to the Knicks or something like that. But the question about Phil isn’t easily answered. The guy definitely picked his spots and wasn’t great enough to make the difference last year when the Lakers lost to the Celtics. He’s good enough to find the right situations and know when he needs to step in and when he needs to get out of the way. But even if the 10 rings suggest something else, I’d still have a hard time saying that he’s the greatest coach in the game when a guy like Gregg Popovich is around. Bottom line: you need excellent players to win, and Phil was always good enough to get them to win regardless of what he did or didn’t do.