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Phil Jackson says he tried to get Kobe Bryant to pass more like LeBron James

Before we go blowing these quotes out of proportion, it’s important to remember that Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant won a lot of championships together. Without Kobe, Phil wouldn’t have more championship rings than he has fingers. Just as he wouldn’t trade Michael Jordan for any player in NBA history, I’m sure Jackson feels the same way about Kobe. All disclaimers aside, it is interesting to hear the former Lakers coach talk about how there are certain things he wishes Kobe did more like LeBron James.

“Oh, they’re– they’re using LeBron every possible way they can,” Jackson said during an HBO “Real Sports” special that aired on Tuesday night. “He’s such a great player. I still think his game is gonna grow. I still think it’s gonna grow. But he was like Scottie Pippen was to the Bulls. He’s maybe a pass first and shoot second player. Whereas, you know, Michael or Kobe are like, “I’m gonna shoot this ball.” Every time they get the ball, they’re looking to score.

“LeBron’s not like that. And I love that about him. But he also, when he goes after scoring, he’s also terrific. You want a player that can do both. I tried to get Kobe to do both for numbers of years, and he could. But his first instinct is to beat the guy that’s in front of him.”

While the comments seem harmless — and they are — Kobe is cocky enough as a player where hearing his former coach talk about how he wanted him to be a little more like LeBron will probably annoy him a tad. Then again, perhaps it is the lack of a score-first mentality that has prevented LeBron from winning a championship. As Brian Cardinal reminded us, there are certain situations where the Lakers could benefit from Kobe passing it more. There are also plenty where LeBron’s teams could have benefited from him attacking more. The Zen Master was just being honest.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk
Photo credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE



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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000085298052 Freddy Castillo

    Phil jackson just joined the bandwagon too shame on you jackson

  • eddie francis

    lets not forget before MJ stasted winning titles, Jordan didnt trust his teammates. Kobe’s stubbornness and determination is whats keeping him from seeing the forest for the mass of trees. I think Kobe has one maybe two chances left to get this right……Go Heat!! PS Wade made the correct choice to get a second title dont you think?….thats who he should have compared Kobe too not Labron, for this topic.

  • eddie francis

    lets not forget before MJ stasted winning titles, Jordan didnt trust his teammates. Kobe’s stubbornness and determination is whats keeping him from seeing the forest for the mass of trees. I think Kobe has one maybe two chances left to get this right……Go Heat!! PS Wade made the correct choice to get a second title dont you think?….thats who he should have compared Kobe too not Labron, for this topic.

  • Anonymous

    Very classless, Phil, shocking. Kobe has proven he’s a closer for years, Lebron has proven nothing yet. Win a title, then we’ll see.

  • Anonymous

    This is great, I’ve always said Kobe is the ultimate in selfish, P. Jax is right on point, todays young players should mimic their games to be more like Magic Johnson and LBJ not Michael jordan, you listening B. Westbrook??? MJ was good enough to pull it off, these guys today are not,and even then he had players like Pippen to pick up the playmaking duties so he could freelance, after Kobe’s selfishness ran Shaq off he didn’t win squat untill the lakers got Gasol, now even Gasol is sick of playing w/ Kobe 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AGQAPYK7NCONMF2UTJWQYCH6RU Frank

     All he is giving his opinion, albeit a very honest one.  Besides, coaching has made KB a multiple-winning champion. Without Phil, KB and those lakers would have been one and done as far as champions go.  Just like the Mavs. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AGQAPYK7NCONMF2UTJWQYCH6RU Frank

     he is entitled to his opinion.  He isn’t the coach anymore so more power to Phil to give his opinion.  Besides, that bandwagon is actually the long train of truth about KB.  So get off the rails if you don’t want your punk-butt to get hit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.l.luster James Lee Luster Jr.

    The problem I have with statements like these is that  LBJ wins a few games and he is talked about as though he is the best ever.  Mike Jordan averaged just as much rebounds and assists as Lebron, shooting a higher field goal percentage.  88-89 season he avg. 32pts. 8reb. 8assist, shooting 54%, in a much greater competition pool.  Plus do the math, Magic and Lebron 5 rings, Jordan and Kobe 11 rings, talk to me when the other two have more!

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.l.luster James Lee Luster Jr.

    The problem I have with statements like these is that  LBJ wins a few games and he is talked about as though he is the best ever.  Mike Jordan averaged just as much rebounds and assists as Lebron, shooting a higher field goal percentage.  88-89 season he avg. 32pts. 8reb. 8assist, shooting 54%, in a much greater competition pool.  Plus do the math, Magic and Lebron 5 rings, Jordan and Kobe 11 rings, talk to me when the other two have more!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ELNS76HVGYUASQATQDDWHMMTVI Lamar

    Get your fact right, Kobe did not run Shaq off. Buss would not resign him for 30 million dollars and Shaq cussed Buss out during a game in Hawaii. Everyone talks about Kobe winning with Shaq or Pau, but no one talked about Magic and M.J. having HOFers on their teams and solid players that won elsewhere ie Steve Kerr. The “Showtime Lakers played top-notched opponents but Jordan’s Bulls opponents were either sub-par or past their prime. I read Jackson’s comments within the content of the question. However I agreed with Jerry West there is no way I would have played under Jackson after he threw Kobe under the bus even those they would two more championships. If it was reversed, the media would still have a field day about Kobe returning to play for Jackson.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/SXH5JGINWNWBYQFNCBCMRCRLCQ Joseph

    Hey, I love you Phil but Kobe brings home the butter. He gave us 5 championships. Princess James doesn’t have 1. May-be he’ll get one this year because he’s playing boys (OKC) instead of men. In reality, when it comes to winning championships…..James can’t carry Kobe’s jock-strap let alone be compared to him. Kobe’s a winner while LeBron hasn’t won since high school  I’ve been a Laker fan since 1968…..Go LAKERS.
    Joe of Syracuse, NY

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.l.luster James Lee Luster Jr.

    Lamar not a true statement, Magic is a couple years older than jordan, same with Worthy, Karl Malone and John Stockton a little younger than Jordan, Clyde Drexler and Jerome Kersey around the same age, Gary Peyton and Shawn Kemp are younger than Jordan, Barkley and Kevin Johnson same age as Jordan.  You see if you do your home work you will see that the Kobe Lakers played inferior competion to Jordans Bulls.  Iverson 76s, Millers pacers, Pistons with no super star, Old Boston and just dwight orlando squad.  Get real

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QMXFUQABINYMNJG4KSBVVEUXNU Thr33pointthr3at

    Kobe brings home the butter??  Best Closer??  Do some research and let me know what you find out as far as best closer…..Take all the shots Kobe has taken to actually win the game and compare it to MJ and you will find that Kobe isn’t even in the same ball park as MJ.  Shaq was the star of the 3 peat….period without Shaq Kobe has 2 rings and without the trade that never should have went through were they traded a six pack of beer and a pizza for Pau Gasol….Kobe has none!!  Kobe could never win a championship with out a dominant big man!  Thats just facts!  Jordan won 6 without a big man and playing SUPERIOR competition.  The Jazz teams alone of 97 and 98 were better than any of Kobes championship teams, and I doubt they beat Phoenix or Portland….Seattle is probably they only team I think they could have beat.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ELNS76HVGYUASQATQDDWHMMTVI Lamar

    Sorry my friend, I was not talking about “Magic’s” age, I was talking about an old TEAM with no big man in the middle unless you call Vlade, a rookie in the NBA, a quality center. I stand by my opinion that the teams of MJ and the Bulls played old team and sub-par teams, no fault of their own they had to play the teams that was in front of them. However, I also stand pat on that Buss got rid of Shaq because  Shaq said that also.  Jackson’s piece on Kobe was very shallow and childish  because why would he come back to coach an “uncoachable” superstar??????? You’re right about Kobe’s Lakers playing against inferior teams and I never claim that they didn’t. I don’t kn ow where you got that from in my last reply. My points were that people always talked about Kobe need for Shaq or Pau but you very seldom hear people talked about tha all-star team Magic had. BTW, I’ve been a Lakers fan since 1964. Good talking to you.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JS4Z3GNBUIBELZ5P3LXM2FWBRA Louis

    Is it really about rings? if thats the case than Bill Russell is the greatest ever with 11 rings. Thats Kobe and Jordan combined. So u wanna re-evaluate your ring theory??

  • Anonymous

    See I have a real problem is with individual players being rated or judged on winning ang losing, Basketball is a team sport and W/L are a team  accomplishments or failures, no one player ever won a championship by themselves, Jordan had Pippen & co and also played in an era where the zone D was illeagle, teams back then would have packed in the middle against him just like they do Lebron now if they could. And after spoiled Kobe ran off Shaq he didn’t win squat until the Lakers picked up Gasol, now Gasol can’t stand playing with him. If the heat had a defensive presance in the middle like Ibaka they would be unstpable, Bosh is not that player. It’s a TEAM sport, something Allen Iverson and Kobe never figured out and I hope B. Westbrook figures out soon.

  • Anonymous

    You are exact correct Louis, if rings were the standard then you would also be saying A.C. Green is a better PF than K. Malone and K. Smith was a better PG than J Stockton, I could go on & on, T. Dilfer a better QB than D. Marino??? Laughable, the whole argument is a joke.

  • Anonymous

    I totally agree with you regarding the Bulls competition being relatively weak compared to the showtime Lakers of the 80’s, that group was the best ever, I personally would rather have Magic than MJ, and I see a lot of Magic in Lebron. But I don’t agree with your assesment of Kobe’s story, he’s been a whining baby doing and saying whatever he wants no matter who it affects, Buss may not have re-signed Shaq because of $$$$, but if the relationship between the 2 were more professional then Buss may have resigned him, $$$ never was an issue w/ Buss B4. them Kobe did it again until the lakers p/u Gasol, then he did it again telling the lakers to trade anybody for C. Paul.

  • Anonymous

    Correct, MJ’s Bulls never saw competition like Bird’s Celtics, or Dr. J/ M. Malones 76ers, if that had happened the Bulls never would have even made to 6 finals let alone win them, Jordan never won anything until Bird got old, the lakers got old and the Bulls got Pippen. And Shaq never won anything until Ewing, Olajuwon and Robinson got old, nothing but glorified power forwards play for most teams at center during Shaqs career.