CHICAGO – Kind of quiet these days in the Windy City, as far as the NBA playoffs go. The blood and guts spilled by the undermanned Bulls team against Brooklyn and Miami got mopped and stored away with the rest of the court, making room for United Center’s ice sheet on which the NHL Blackhawks are pursuing their Stanley Cup dreams.
The Derrick Rose Watch is over for a few months. Tom Thibodeau hasn’t been hoarse for a week.
But the NBA will rev up again, at least for a night, when Phil Jackson makes a public appearance Thursday to tout his latest book, “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success.” The celebrated coach of the Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers will participate in a conversation with Bulls beat writer K.C. Johnson as part of the Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row literary series.
The Hall of Fame coach has been making the rounds lately – network interviews on the “Dan Patrick Show” and ESPN’s “Mike & Mike,” late-night chats with Jay Leno and Jon Stewart – so it’s not know if he has any news bombs to drop back where his NBA coaching career began.
Already, in thumping his book, the 67-year-old has talked about his lack of desire to coach again, the breakdown of that brief flirtation in November to return to the Lakers and various comparisons between Michael Jordan and either Kobe Bryant or LeBron James.
He said he turned down a chance to coach the Nets and, for now, has had his vision of a management role with a Seattle NBA entry blunted by the league’s decision to block a relocation of the Sacramento Kings. Jackson indicated he would have had a front-office position of his choosing, based on conversations with aspiring Seattle owner Chris Hansen.
With a career record of 1,155-485 and those 11 championships, Jackson remains a target for any team looking to make a splash with (and willing to pay a hefty price for) its coaching hire. But he talked in “Eleven Rings” of steering away from that role due to health considerations, based on his battle with prostate cancer two years ago and the rigors of the NBA’s travel and schedule.
It’s not clear where the public conversation will head Thursday – the event is being held at the Palmer House Hilton at 7 p.m. CDT, with tickets available for $45 (including a copy of Jackson’s book), $20 individually or $100 for a table of 10. Any talk of Jordan and his rivals probably will tilt in the Bulls legend’s direction, given the home-crowd advantage. And it’s likely folks will get a glimpse into how Jackson feels, rings-wise, about his Chicago six compared to his Los Angeles five.