Phil Talks “Eleven Rings,” Phantom 12th

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CHICAGO – Phil Jackson has been hitting it hard on his book tour this week, talking up his latest work on late-night TV and national radio broadcasts. Still, in a spate of appearances in the city where his unparalleled NBA coaching success began, the talk invariably has veered back to the one that got away.

The book is titled “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success” (Penguin Press, 2013). People in Chicago, where rings are hard to come by, still wonder about that missing 12th.

Oh, there wasn’t much Jackson or anyone else with the Bulls could do about the 1994 and ’95 NBA titles seized by Houston during the first of Michael Jordan‘s three NBA retirements. And no one in the audience Thursday night at the Palmer House Hilton, where Jackson appeared as part of the Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row literary series, cared much about the Lakers’ failure to win again in 2011 and finish off what would have been Jackson’s fourth three-peat.

But many in the Windy City crowd of about 750 wanted to know: What about 1999? That was the NBA’s first lockout-shortened season, a schedule that seemed perfect for a veteran-laden team like the Bulls.

And yet, they didn’t even try. The band broke up, the run was over. Jackson famously rode off on a fat motorcycle and Chicago’s NBA team all but went dark for the next half dozen seasons.

W-w-w-what happened?

Phil Jackson talks with the Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson (right) during an in interview in Chicago.

Coach Phil Jackson talks with the Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson (right) as he discusses his new book, ‘Eleven Rings’, and his long NBA career. (Courtesy Chicago Tribune)

“I know how hard it is, so many people in Chicago say, ‘You could have continued to win,’ ” Jackson told the audience. “Yes – maybe.”

Ultimately it was Jerry Krause, the Bulls’ determined general manager, who brought that run to its end, the Hall of Fame former coach said.

As stubborn as Jackson or Jordan (and often butting heads with both), Krause had made it clear to the Bulls coach that his run there was over. Team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf asked him to return but Jackson declined. “I just felt our relationship had deteriorated such that, for me to come back, it would be too difficult for Jerry Krause.”

That was the first domino. Jordan didn’t want to play for another coach and, besides, he cut his finger – with a cigar cutter, the story went – badly enough to need surgery. Dennis Rodman essentially was done as an NBA player. Scottie Pippen, Luc Longley and Steve Kerr went elsewhere to get paid better than in their Chicago stays.

It’s doubtful Krause would fill a downtown ballroom on a night the NHL Blackhawks were active in the Stanley Cup playoffs, touting a book titled “Organizations Win Rings” or something like that.

“Right up until the end, we worked well together,” Jackson said, after acknowledging their different temperaments. “We had a wonderful time as a team for three years and we really appreciated it.”

In a 45-minute “conversation” – think “Inside the Actors Studio” format, with longtime Bulls beat writer K.C. Johnson in the James Lipton role – Jackson touched on a variety of topics, including:

  • “Eleven Rings” is the seventh book written by the NBA’s resident Zen master. He might wind up with more books than rings eventually. “I guess being a reader is the reason I’ve written books,” said Jackson, who co-authored this project with Hugh Delehanty, his collaborator on 1995’s “Sacred Hoops.” “There’s that personal feeling that you get from dialogue with a reader and with an author when you’re participating in a book. I think it’s brought me closer to individuals. It gives an inside look at a very varied career that I’ve had.”
  • The title was spun from “The Book of Five Rings,” a 1643 work by duelist and samurai Miyamoto Musashi. That book, according to Amazon.com, “is one of the most influential texts on the subtle arts of confrontation and victory ever to emerge from Asia.” Said Jackson: “That’s the concept of which 11 rings come out of. I was hoping it was going to be 12 – didn’t make it.”
  • Doesn’t sound like he will, either. Similar to how he’s been responding all week through these interviews, Jackson said: “I have no intention of coaching. My fiancée Jeanie Buss says, when people ask you that question, say, ‘Jeanie thinks I can still coach.’ But I have no intention of coaching.”

    PhilJackson_029

    Hall of Famer Phil Jackson had plenty of candid comments to share with the assembled crowd in Chicago about his days coaching the Bulls and  Lakers. (Courtesy Chicago Tribune)

  • Getting pre-empted on a return to the Lakers in November – when GM Mitch Kupchak called Jackson at midnight Sunday with the news of Mike D’Antoni‘s hiring, rather than wait to hear Jackson’s decision on Monday – still appears to sting him. Yet he said: “The idea that I didn’t have to coach was a relief. Because it felt I was going to have to come back and … go through rescue process.” He had done that, he felt, when he went back to the post-Shaquille O’Neal Lakers in 2005. “Even though my fiancée is part of that family and part of that organization, I didn’t want to get pulled in.”
  • Still, the idea of a basketball operations gig in Seattle – said to be Jackson’s for the taking, had entrepreneur Chris Hansen wrested the Kings out of Sacramento – holds great appeal. And for a very personal reason: “The sideline triangle offense that we promoted all those years and thought was such a fine system has really been denigrated over the last three or four seasons,” he said.
  • Never mind Kurt Rambis‘ failure in Minnesota or the half-baked versions tried briefly elsewhere, Jackson said. “A lot of people point to all those situations and the triangle as too difficult to run and too difficult an offense for present-day NBA basketball. And I don’t think it’s true,” he said. “Basketball is still basketball. The princples of offense are still the same. And there’s a group of people who would be willing to listen to that.”
  • Something Jackson loved about that offense – or maybe just his special place in the game, after tutelage from assistant coach Tex Winter, as its biggest proponent – was the buy-in it required from all involved. “One bonus about triangle offense,” he said, “it wasn’t a coach telling player what to do. It was about system, a standard to live up to.”
  • Jackson’s favorite game as coach? “I guess it would be the first championship, the final game that helped us win [in 1991].” After that? Jackson quickly mentioned the 1993 title clincher against Phoenix, when the Bulls’ “blind pig” play eventually got the ball to John Paxson for the 3-point dagger.
  • Asked which players actually read the books Jackson was known for distributing, he laughed. “I usually buy books appropriate for the players. “Beavis and Butthead” was one of the books I gave Stacey King (former Bulls center now working as the team’s colorful TV analyst).”
  • Here’s Jackson on current Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, known for his workaholic tendencies. “Tom’s a good coach,” he said. “He works really hard at it and I just hope it doesn’t kill him.”
  • Stepping away for a day from the Jordan-Kobe Bryant comparisons, Jackson found himself faced with a third superstar to evaluate: LeBron James. “He’s working on those rings,” Jackson said. “When he gets those rings, five and six, then he’s right there.”
  • Of his recent entry to the world of Twitter as @PhilJackson11 Jackson said: “It’s a weird world out there. You have to have a thick skin.” He admitted that one of the few players he follows on the social media site is current Bulls center Joakim Noah, whose offbeat personality seems somehow in synch with the coach 40 years his senior.

96 Comments

  1. #BullsFAnDAN says:

    We luv you Phil. You will always be remembered as the Bulls Coach! Best coach ever!!!!

  2. Dont worry says:

    LBJ has only 1 ring yet everyone is comparing him to MJ and KOBE, does that ring a bell? this means the guy is just great. To have just 1 and still be compared to the GOAT just means he is phenomenal. Years to come he will be incomparable. BTW this is just Phil Jax’s opinion, it doesnt mean he is right. Everyone is entitled to who they think is the greatest player.

  3. Alphonse says:

    James has played well (from time to time) – particularly in the company of Wade, Bosh and other Miami players – demonstrating skill and strength, he is, to borrow a phrase from Charles Barkley, ‘a whiner’ and just as frequently demonstrates immaturity and poor sportsmanship (storming off the court, for example). He certainly does measure himself quantitatively — otherwise what was the big to-do with his contract with the Heat in the first place? His comparison with Jordan is also self-made, including the big deal he made about retiring all jersey numbers 23 several years ago.

    Jackson nailed it. When he gets 5 or 6 rings he will be ‘right there.’

    Short of that, the various descriptions of ‘chosen one’ ‘king james’ etc. are just hype.

  4. Christian says:

    I’d like to know how many of you Lebron fanatics own Jordan kicks. Last I checked even kids as young as 2 yrs old wear them. That’s greatness for ya. Oh and those who keep criticizing Phil Jackson, check your life accomplishments. Losers

  5. nbafan says:

    phil jax. said; When he gets those rings, five and six, then he’s right there.” The point here is., if LBJ will win 5 or 6 more nba tittle like kobe and mj did., his name gonna be link to them., phil jax only using the words ring.,

  6. joe says:

    Like how Phil takes credit for them. His teams were so good that Charlie weis could of been their coach and the still would of got rings… lmao

  7. joeh811220 says:

    Like how he takes credit for them. The bulls and Lakers would of been champs if Charlie Weis was coaching…..lmao

  8. Kobe-GOAT says:

    not a lbj fan but lbj will go down as goat. lbj spent 7 yrs in cleveland and he didnt have a second star. do u remember when he got his team to the finals in 2007 against spurs? he got swept but still made it 2 the finals. my favorite player is kobe and he couldnt get it done this season with dwight, pau, and steve. mj won a ring when he got a second star like scottie. phil needs to coach a rebuilding team like orl, cha, was, sac, or pelicans. i respect phil but he had mj and kobe/shaq to get it done.

  9. Some Guy says:

    Rings are important to consider when the player in discussion is the one who lead his team a championship

    • pacer fan says:

      What if they didn’t lead. What if it was simply the coach leading the personalities and egos, without the help and sometimes in spite of the negativity of the star player(Kobe). Apparently, MJ was a great leader and his team enjoyed playing with him as Lebron james too

  10. Gideon97 says:

    The argument is silly. I believe that James is the best right now, but comparing him to the other greats after their careers are over or almost over isn’t really fair. Like other’s have said, only time will tell. But no doubt there’s another kid out there on his way up who will be the next “Big Thing” in the NBA and we can start this silly argument all over again. And by the way for all you Jordan worshipers out there, remember, he’s just a man. If someone does come along one day and he just happen to be better than him, I think the world will spin on.

  11. Us buck says:

    Read carefully: The LBJ vs. MJ debate is so hotly debated because MJ enthusiasts can see how great LBJ is; and they know he represents a legitimate threat to MJ legacy as the GOAT! If not, why get so angry and condescending about someone else’s opinion? Let it go, let it go, let it go….

  12. Drago says:

    I’m the type to think that Jackson is overrated.But then i thought that there are lots of players that played superb basketball the last 20 years comparable to Jordan.Vince Carter,Tracy Mcgrady,Braynt,Grant Hill,Penny Hardaway and Alen Iverson come to mind.And all of those i would chose ahead of Lebron James because i just like their game more.Jordan exploded with his first championship and that ring is all Phil Jackson’s doing.If Jordan did not win a ring he would have broke down at one point like many of those i have mentioned.The titles propelled Jordan to exceed his limits even further and make him the GOAT.So it is a matter of luck and circumstances as much as overall skill and stats to be in the upper level of basketball and be considered the greatest.There is a level to greatness that you can reach individually as a player and there is a whole other level of play when you contend for the title right there in the Finals in game 7.It all comes down to the feel of it.Jordan feels like he is the best and i would put Magic right after him than Bird and maybe just maybe Bryant.Those players are the only players in my time that can project their will the game and you can feel that they have that little extra in the tank and in the legs.Lebron is not one of those YET (but he could be) and that is why people contest him a loot.

  13. curtdiddy says:

    what about big shot bob robert horry then

    • david says:

      the reason why i dont think lebron will win 6 rings is because you need a guy like shaq oneal….a big man who can dominate in the paint just like kobe had with 3 of his rings and he had bynum and gasol….the heat have bosh who plays like a 7 foot shooting guard which is talented but hes not dominate in the the post up game….which is already causing problems with the pacers….the pacers are dominating the rebounds and post with roy hibbert and david west….it will take a dominate effort from lebron to win this series

  14. klipster says:

    phils word is non sense. he is not the greatest coach ever. coach thibs of the chicago bulls doc rivers and popovich is way better than coach phil jackson. phil jackson is just lucky to coach a superstar team.

  15. Willy says:

    PJ Lord of the Rings! New movie coming out soon with Charles Barkley, long white Harden beard.

  16. james says:

    Shouldn’t it be 12 rings? He won a ring with the knicks in his playing days

  17. Big Time says:

    Kobe wasn’t even the best player in the team that won three straight championships! So the argument that Kobe is better than Lebron because he has 5 rings is absolutely ridiculous! If you just look at basketball talent, Lebron is much better than Kobe.

    And it’s not fair to compare Lebron to Jordan yet (it’s way too early for that), I seriously don’t understand why people love to compare him to Jordan when the guy is still only 28 (and already has 4mvps and 1 championship to his name) while Jordan won his first championship at 29. Give him some time at least he is just getting started…

    • pacer fan says:

      OK. First of all, Jordan only played 11 complete years, not counting his last 2 return from the dead years with the wizards. Lebron has finished 10. That’s pretty close. Second, MJ was 27 when he won in 90-91. Lebron started at 19, MJ at 21, so that’s equivalent to LBJ being 25. MJ won his first 3 rings 90, 91, and 92. MJ’s father was then murdered, so he missed his 93, 94 he came back late and he only played 17 games so although he helped get them to the eastern finals they lost in six. But next year, the year after and the year after that they won, then with the lockout, losing pippen and rodman, he decided to call it quits. That’s pretty impressive. Also he had 5 MVP’s, and 6 finals MVP’s. ROY, DPY and 3 All star MVPs. In my opinion it isn’t about rings, because rings are won by TEAMS, not individuals. But when you look at Jodans legacy of winning three, retiring because his dad was murdered, and then coming back to three peat again…whatever. compare all you want…

  18. Elite says:

    You Kobe fans can never brag about “rings” considering the fact that Kobe played horrible in all the finals appearances.

  19. jay says:

    everybody must realize that Jordan made the path way for players like Kobe or Lebron to be great. Both players have learned from MJ and jordan is lebron and kobes idol. jordan said himself thats he expect all players to be great because it means there dedicated to the game and working hard.

  20. Jose says:

    Not a Lebron fan, but I can recognize a great player when I see one. LBJ is a great player. I dont care about rings that much. All the players wants to win, but you need a team to win a championship. MJ, Kobe, Magic, Larry had great talent surrounding them, including a few hall of famers. That is the main reason their teams won multiple championships.

    Saying that Patrick Ewing, and Charles Barkley were not good players because they never won a championship is absurd. They never had a team with a reliable second star, and a great supporting cast, like the other great players did. This also is the reason why I believe Ewing and Barkley were better than Malone, even if the stats say something different. Malone and Stockton could not win a championship even after spending over a decade playing together for the same coach.

    Oh, and Phil is overrated, Winning championships when your team is full of stars cant be that difficult. I thinks Charlotte is looking for a coach, and I am sure it would be great to see Phil and MJ together again … Make it happen Phil !!!

  21. Tyson Miller says:

    Watching people taking the tongs comment out of context is always fun to watch. Robert horryi is not as skilled as mj or Lebron and was never a leader of his team. The rings argument is only used for elite players with stats comparable.

  22. b says:

    If you could replace any go-to player on any championship team with Jordan, Kobe, or Lebron…

  23. los says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NBA_players_with_most_championships

    to all that say jordan is the best and that are Phil Jackson band-wagoners.
    according to Phil the best player is the one with the most rings and if thats the case Jordan is no where near the best player and all of them got more rings than Jordan, playing less years than Jordan

  24. Michaelp says:

    We have to accept it. The best players are measured by the rings they have. Le bron is working hard for his next ring. Le bron definitely knows how to etch his greatness. We love Phil Jackson.

  25. sports fan says:

    Winning more rings than doesn’t mean that you’re better than another but all organizations, coaches, & players will always aim for championships & that’s how they measure their success. Winning a ring is the ultimate accomplishment. Phil Jackson has nothing left to prove as a coach. He now wants to win rings from the front office, which is what Pat Riley is doing.

  26. Just HAVE to say says:

    Amazing how people who have not achieved *anything* significant in their lives feel their criticism of an NBA coach who won 11 championships is worth even a skim-through… Amazing. Not surprising, but always amazing.

  27. drex says:

    I don’t really go for the most rings means your the best theory, but in the case of bill russell, he defined defense and defense wins games which he proved so until a player hits 12 rings noone cares dude..

  28. Mark says:

    Last time I checked, basketball is a team game. Championships can’t be won solely by one player. Rings are more of a testament of a team’s success than an individual’s greatness. You really can’t just say that player A is better than player B because he has more rings. If you put Jordan in the likes of bobcats, hornets, or magic, would it really be the same? Of course his game would still be the same and his talents would shine no matter what, but if it so happens that he wasn’t able to win a ring, would that be enough to somehow nullify his greatness? We all know the bottom-line here, I respect Jordan and Kobe, they are both great no doubt, but I think that Lebron doesn’t need 5-6 rings just to prove that he is on the same level as Jordan and Kobe. Personally, I’d rather have a great all-around player who can defend 1 through 4 in my team than a ballhog volume shooter who often shoots below 50% (not Jordan obviously), talk about overall efficiency.

  29. W/E says:

    As for the best player ever, u have to compare playoff performances, where it really counts, even regular season MVPs dont mean much if ur team fails in the playoffs, thats why MJ OWNS everyone BIG TIME, the guy was the ultimate playoff contender, a true team leader and godly scorer.

    • Gene says:

      So how is it that players who have won as many if not more championships considered? Bill Russell won more, (a couple as PLAYER COACH) Kareem, Bird, Magic won just about as many-but nevertheless the topic remains MJ, and he is heralded by many who have never “seen him play” who instead get their truth from the likes of Bayless, Stephen A. etc.
      My perspective is that MJ was ARGUABLY one of the greatest especially if all aspects of the game are not considered. But one thing everybody seems to overlook: Most teams are not interested in winning championships, because it costs money to win. Most teams are satisfied to make the playoffs and make a profit. It does not matter how good a player is, if the off court team is not on the same page they are not winning. When Lebron entered the league Cleveland was a lotto team, and when he left they reverted back to being a lotto team. Their goals were to simply make the playoffs. Championship caliber teams have a foundation which is not destroyed by the removal of one player i.e. if KD leaves OKC, the team will not transform into a lotto team. To sum it up: In order for great players to win championships, they must be on championship caliber teams. On court and off court.

  30. Gene says:

    There are many mysteries in life and one of them is how can Michael Jordan’s 6 championships (if that is the criteria used to measure) trump Bill Russell’s 9 consecutive as a player and 2 as a PLAYER COACH. MJ has shown himself to be quite a player but failing miserably otherwise.

  31. Gene says:

    If Phil Jackson is so enamoured with Michael Jordan, why don’t he take his talents to Charlotte and do for Michael what Michael did for him?

  32. DFish says:

    Does that mean Derrick Fisher is an elite player too?

    • blackandsilver says:

      why because he’s successfully cancelled several months of basketball last year so he could talk his way outa dallas? i like the thunder but was glad they lost just because of that greedy man. they don’t give out rings for being a d-bag hence the reason he’ll never win another.

    • Bongo says:

      yes, even steve kerr is elite, better than lebron and in the same conversation as kobe and mj

  33. canadiantrip says:

    Rings? Well then Robert Horry is better than MJ and Kobe lol

    MVP should weight more than rings.

    MVP = Individual
    Ring = Team

  34. Henrik Jensen says:

    He does not need 5-6 rings no. if he continues to become MVP, i really think 8-12 MVP Titles will be worth more than 5-6 championships, because championships is not just about one player…

  35. DomaMei says:

    Lebron will never hear this, he wasted 7 years in cleveland, at the age of 28 now, 29 by the end of the year, so he needs to be able to win not only this year, but 4 more times while he hits and go beyond his 30s, wade is already 31, bosh is 29, so they basically need to win every season from now on to get close to a record like Jordan, 6 rings. Even if he does win every year from now when he hits his 6th he’ll be 34, wade will be 36? bosh will also be 34, so we’re talking about seeing 3 vets in their mid 30s winning championships, also i question how much longer can lebron keep his athleticism, which is pretty much the only thing that’s making him who he is. In terms of determination and clutch he’s not at the level kobe, or jordan was. So how likely is he going to be able to win 5 more in a row? into his 30s… When was the last time kobe won a ring? when he was 32. and how much have you seen him slow down in the last couple years? A LOT. He can still ball don’t get me wrong, he can still shoot and all, but last few years he’s lost a lot of his athleticism and kobe is such a strong willed guy as well… So to think that this “super team” of miami heat can carry on for another 5 rings undefeatd? HMM, even 4 more just to be leveled with kobe… it’s honestly questionable. They’re not dominating at the moment, and I honestly don’t see them being able to if bulls are able to pick it up next season and maybe drop either boozer or deng for a better trade of either positions (preferably boozer). They’re going to be one tough contender.

    • DomaMei says:

      And if Lebron at anytime just lose one of his 2 big 3, either wade or bosh during the process without picking up someone better, they’ll fail for sure…even if they picked up someone younger and up there, they’ll take time to adjust to the new changes, like how the first year miami struggled with this super team cause they were not used to one another as much. To hope that all 3 of them can stay together and win 4 – 5 more in a row… would like to see it, but highly unlikely. You’ll probably be seeing this post, any of you guys from miami, prove me wrong.

      • Odog says:

        Ok. Here is the skinny. Jordan won majority of his rings in his later years. So what are we discussing?….If Miame loses one of the big 3 could they sustain championship level of play. I think they can. Here is why. Bosh is not a banger so he doesn’t get banged up like many bigs. Lebron is athletic enough that when he slows down he still will be better than most star players on other teams. Wade is the most banged up of the three, but if he develops a silky smooth jumper I still think he has enough in the tank to get 2 more seasons out of him. Why are we planning the demise of the heat dynasty. Heck 2 of the 3 yrs they have been together, they have made to the Conference finals. LBJ mostly is responsible for this. I think he can pull off a three-peat.

  36. LBJAMES says:

    Phil Jackson is so over rated. Let him coach Bobcats, Wizards or Detroit today, i bet he will never get to the playoffs.
    He got the best players during his tenure.

  37. ahmed says:

    LeBron only needs about three or four. Think about it, Bill Russell 11 rings, MJ six rings, Kobe five rings, even tim duncan four rings. Times change, you can’t win a championship as easily as in the past. LeBron may only need three or four.

  38. Lebron will not get it.. maybe Wade can get it cause Wade has 2 rings now. at the end of the day Wade is ahead when it comes to ring than LBJ

  39. LBJKIN6JAMES says:

    By the time LeBron’s career is over he might have 5-6-7 rings,

    LEBRON WON HIS 1ST CHAMPIONSHIP WHEN HE WAS 27 YEARS OLD, MICHAEL JORDAN WAS 28
    #LBJ is just getting started

    • BasketballGuru says:

      Did you ever see Jordan play ignorant people? People saying Lebron beats him on stats must be crazy. Jordan won his first championship at 28 but he had already won a college championship, scoring titles in almost all of his seasons in the NBA, two olympic champions, slam dunk contest, rookie of the year, Naismith player of the year, etc etc. Jordan went to the finals six times and won all. He also won the MVP on everyone of the finals. He has 5 regular seasons MVP and a defensive player of the year award. How could you say that Lebron is better??? Jordan won at the college level, at the olympic level, at the NBA level. Lebron will definitely have more points than Jordan when his carrer ends but Jordan will have always scored more PPG on average. It is ridiculous to compare them two at this point. And to say Lebron won his first championship at 27 does not mean anything. Jordan entered the NBa at 21 years old, Lebron entered at 18 so he played more seasons before getting his first championship. If you play more seasons you will definitely rack up the stats, that does not mean you were more dominant than Jordan

  40. bostonceltics says:

    Why so much media for Phil Jackson?
    He doesn’t want to coach anymore and the NBA shouldn’t write so many articles about him! Who cares about him anymore! I mean I respect what he did during his coaching career but stop with so much media for his books/etc.
    Where are the articles about David West’s big game in Game 1 even thought they lost, Tim Duncan bringing back his old self during clutch moment in Game 1, etc. GET IT TOGETHER!

  41. Explorer says:

    LBJ will work that rings for every season.. step by step. he has the will not to lose….

  42. Pavle says:

    LeBron-4MVP
    Kobe-1MVP

    LeBron is one of the best player in NBA history…. :D

    LeBron is much better than Kobe…. :D

  43. ows says:

    taling bout comparisons, If michael jordan is the greatest so kobe is next to michael cause he has 5? Bill Russell would just laugh if rings are the basis for being the better player than the other..

  44. danmacatuno says:

    Well, then maybe no one should talk about MJ. Bill Russel almost doubled his rings. SMH

  45. J says:

    why cant people just accept the fact that phil is done coaching. i think hes goat in terms of coaching and oviously he has 11 rings

    great article!

  46. AKAMADU says:

    If that is the case MJ and Kobe should also not be in the list. Bill Russel should be the all time greatest player Nba has ever had with 11 rings. The Top 8 NBA best Basketball players of all time
    Bill Russell won 11 rings.
    Sam Jones won 10 rings.
    Tom Heinsohn won 8 rings.
    K.C. Jones won 8 rings.
    Satch Sanders won 8 rings.
    John Havlicek won 8 rings.
    Jim Loscutoff won 7 rings.
    Frank Ramsey won 7 rings.
    Robert Horry won 7 rings.

  47. jack23 says:

    it thats the case, is Byron Russell out of that topic?..is this what he meant?..c’mon this TRASH steve, no need to talk and debate about who is great, MJ is MJ, KObe is Kobe, LBJ is LBJ, we dont care, this move of PJax is all about his book, so he can attract more buyers, business is his objective and joining Twitter because of that thing!!

  48. JC says:

    @Dee Bella – then i guess Bill Russell is better than everyone since he has the most rings.

  49. Wilt #13 says:

    Sorry Phil But that is just rubbish.
    If rings is the only thing that makes you great then Bill Russle is the best of all time.
    LeBron to me is better then MJ if you are talking from an all around Basketball skills.
    But he needs 5 or 6 rings to prove that? Man Kobe had Shaq to bring his 3 rings and then gasol.
    MJ had Pippen and LeBron has Dwayne when he is already at his 30’es .
    I dont want to start a fan fight or something But LeBron should not be compered to MJ or Kobe because from the all around skills he is better,How about LeBron vs Magic? Now that’s a real talk.
    Just my opinion not a bandwagon or whatever I’m a warrior fan and a LeBron fan since I started watching the NBA in ’08.
    Since then I learned my butt of the history of the NBA.

  50. Dee bella says:

    wow you hear that LeBron?you need to get 5 to 6 rings to be on the topic comparison of bests like Jordan and kobe bryant

    • David says:

      In the eyes of a man who coached both Jordan and Bryant…not exactly a neutral observer.

    • isis says:

      you mean the fans like you need to hear that. lebron himself never compares himself to the likes of kobe and mj. its guys like you who bring it up and you r talking like lebron wont get them. phil specifically said WHEN he gets them , not if. so its a matter of time before lebron joins the conversation of the GOATs

      • Lauryn says:

        I completely agree. Lebron gets a lot of criticism for not being as “clutch as MJ” or “not as many rings as Kobe”… he’ll get there! Give the guy some time!

    • j-dozer-w says:

      wow do you hear that Dee? your an idiot.

    • Michael says:

      Give him time. He could easily be on his way to another 2 or 3 in the next few years.

      • Community Award says:

        Yeah, Lebron sure cares about getting 2 or 3 more rings..Tony Allen is matching fans’ donations for Oaklahoma tornado relief. How much does Tony Allen make?? How much does Lebron make? apparently it’s more than bball to Tony Allen..showing true heart! How the hell did D-Wade get the community award last week?? All he did was hug and kissed some high school girl at prom.

    • truth says:

      not? rings dont define a persons game….stupid. tim ducen has 4 they enver talk about him? so stop it please.

      • manrei24 says:

        really? you play basketball coz you wanna win. and you’re defining greatness with just one ring? just simple, those words came from p-jax. and it’s still a long long way for lebron.

      • sally says:

        Thank you….a ring doesn’t mean a thing !!

      • Lebron says:

        If a ring doesn’t mean anything than what’s the purpose of winning? or trying to get a title? If 5 o6 rings doesn’t separate you from the rest of the players then what else? There are so many different aspects of bbal skills, different factors, to determine whos better than who…thats why theres always controversy. To eliminate long discussions, just compare when you have the same amount of rings. If u take out Bosh or Wade, would Lebron still win 5 rings? Kobe did it with only one mega star and a good supporting cast. The Heat has a great support cast now. So take out one star and we’ll see. Theres no point for anyone to get a ring if a ring doesn’t mean anything. U must be doing something right and good thats how u help the team with one other mega star on it win a championship. MJ did it, Kobe did it, now lets see if Lebron can. Thats y we contnue to watch bball.

      • Lebron says:

        This is y the Heat has haters. Bc ppl feel that they’re cheating by having 3 mega stars. their games become too easy for them and not fun to watch. When Kobe or MJ did it, the only had a one-two punch. It was more complicated but fun to watch. Who can explain Lebron stats? with all the help he’s getting…whos better than who is still a LONG discussion. That’s y MJ picked Kobe over Lebron. Kobe is durable and skillful, he played similar to MJ. Lebron is totally different..we have to wait to see

      • Lebron says:

        ..And that’s what Phil is saying.. That’s what MJ was saying when he said 5 ring is better than 1. That’s what Kobe is thinking… That’s what Lebron and D-Wade will say about future Mega star when they’re being compared to. That’s the whole purpose of trying to win a championship and a ring.

      • Lebron says:

        9 years from now when Lebron is getting rusty and look worst than the future mega star, you will forget how great he was. Just like u forget about Kobe and MJ. Lebron can’t go back and show u his videos. Even videos doesn’t capture all of the greatness over many years. So, that’s y he will agree with Phil and MJ..

      • Lebron says:

        Ppl will always remember that MJ didn’t win a ring until Scottie Pipen joined him. Kobe didn’t win a ring until Shaq or Gasol joined him. Lebron didn’t win a ring until HE joined Bosh AND Wade. Besides the number of rings, that’s one of the things ppl will always remember. It’s how much help you get to bring you to that championship title. and they’ll compare the greatness from there.

      • Michael Jordan says:

        TD is the greatest power forward ever, he IS NOT AN EXITEABLE OR MARKETABLE PLAYER! that is why

      • Community Award says:

        It’s easier for everyone to say Lebron is the greatest player right now bc he’s the only one playing at his prime. You’re seeing the very best of him and forgettig the very best of everyone els. Ppl believe what the see, not what they hear. They only hear about Kobe and MJ being great. And seeing Kobe is getting rusty making them believe he’s not as great as Lebron. So now U say rings don’t count then what else counts? There’s no more argument. Rings are the only proofs when you’re no longer at your very best. You can’t find all the videos of their greatness bc theres too many, and media wasn’t as big then as now. So STOP throwing Lebron in MJ and Kobe discussion. Ppl don’t throw MJ and Kobe in Bill Russel discussion for the same reason.

      • Neo_33 says:

        just want to add to what @Lebron said, when Pippen joined Jordan, he was not a superstar then yet, He would eventually evolve with Jordan’s guidance and leadership. That’s the reason why everybody will remember the Chicago Bulls-Jordan era, not as the Chicago Bulls-Jordan-Pippen era. Just a thought.

    • Truth says:

      Since most people already consider him much better than Kobe already which is obvious and he only has 1 ring I doubt he hears anything.

    • Ermal says:

      Says Phil Jackson who is scared to coach another team other than the best team in the NBA!? Why doesn’t he coach the Nets ? lol Pop > Phil

      • JW says:

        i don’t know if Phil is saying he’s the GOAT of coaches as much as he’s saying he’s the winningest coach with 11 rings to show. but you’re right though, i’d like to see him coach a fixer upper so i can really see what all that zen triangle offense stuff is really worth.

    • Really? says:

      So, Robert Horry is better than Jordan?

      • JW says:

        what people who say, “so so and so is better than jordan (because he got more rings)” don’t understand is that the argument of rings is what comes into play after you have shown that you have the game, the stats etc – AFTER you have already shown that you are a GREAT PLAYER in the way that Lebron has shown and MJ had shown BEFORE they won rings – in a game with great players, after all is said and done, this is how they prove themselves. IT’S NOT THE ONLY ARGUMENT, OR EVEN THE MOST INPORTANT ARGUMENT, BUT IT IS THE FINAL ARGUMENT. this is how MJ sought to make himself the equal of and eventually separate himself from Magic, Bird and Isiah. he already had the game, the stats etc before he got the rings.

      • Hater4life! says:

        Ok @jw, talk to me about Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, then. What’s your argument there.?

      • Ejavin808 says:

        Robert Horry is not a superstar but only a role player. We are talking about superstars. They are being seperated by wing rings since it is the while reason why they are competing.

    • die hard fan lebron..... says:

      wow what did you say….even michael jordan and kobe have a lot of rings…lebron james is the best all around player in the world….

      • Ejavin808 says:

        A player can be the best in everything but not winning multiple rings seperates them from the other. He can be the best in everything but no rings means nothing. It is about winning championships. Besides, it is the reason why they are competing.

    • Pakyaw says:

      I think Phil is overrated ,ill take coach pop in regards to coaching.. If you coach a great team and a great player your chances of winning the chips is high… Let say the heat win 3 titles , does this mean coach spo is an elite coach ?

      • JW says:

        yes, it would definitely lift him above many coaches whom he might have never been thought of as their equal otherwise. who was Phil before he started winning? in fact, even though i would like to see Miami lose, i have to concede that Spoelstra deserves credit for his attention to detail, but especially for getting such great players as Lebron, Wade, Bosh et al to buy in and respect him even though he didn’t come in with the background of a former NBA player/champion like Phil Jackson did.

    • Lucky south beach bum says:

      Lady Luck got to keep him healthy!!! The Boy is simply, “THE BEST”!!!

      Best of Good Luck always James, now go gettem, the world’s behind you 100%…..

    • MNH says:

      That is true. But even if Lebron wins ten rings, he is still an urogant person and will never rise to the MJ level.

    • Bal says:

      The purpose of the NBA is to win championships….not to see who has the best personal stats. All you idiots who say “look at LBJ’s stats, he’s the greatest of all time” are morons. LBJ should be only compared to the greats AFTER his career is over. You have to see what his TEAM and ORGANIZATION has accomplished, not what HE has personally accomplished. And for all the people who say “look at Fisher and Horry, are you saying they are better?” The answer is NO. Players like Jordan, Magic, Kobe, Wilt, Russell, Bird, Kareem etc were the CRUCIAL driving force why their teams have won. Fisher and Horry were just great supporting cast players. LBJ is the best basketball player in the world right now, not the best ever. If the purpose of the NBA was for personal stats, don’t you think MJ and the rest would just average 80 points a game? It just makes me sick that people go off about LBJ when he has 1 ring. Also, LBJ is a athletic beast and he can go through anyone. Don’t forget MJ was jumping over players too…hence the name AIR. But also remember he was old and grounded for his later years as well and won championships with his mind. I want to see how LBJ handles the game when he’s weaker and slower and grounded…..can he still win championships at his old age like MJ did?!?!

      “Rings don’t mean anything”….REALLY? Is that your argument? That automatically means that the world series, NBA championship, Stanley Cup, World Cup, Super Bowl etc must not mean anything. Nice argument you LBJ loving losers!

    • Mike says:

      Well, I guess Robert Horry should be considered one of the all-time greats then.. he has more rings then Jordan! It’s stupid to go off just rings.

    • Chris says:

      REALLY UNFAIR TO LINK # OF RINGS WITH GREATNESS. HOW DO YOU THEN SAY OF CHARLES BARKLEY AND REGGIE MILLER? WHY DONT YOU SAY THAT BILL RUSSEL IS THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME? YOU GUYS KNOW THAT LEBRON HAS ALREADY SURPAASED JORDAN AND KOBE, SO THE ONLY ARGUMENT YOU HAVE IS THE NUMBER OF RINGS. BUT YOU ARE SO ILLOGICAL BECAUSE THEN BILL RUSSEL AND EVEN ROBERT HORRY ARE GREATER THAN JORDAN, MAGIC, AND KOBE. SUCH AN IRRATIONAL ARGUMENT.