Phil Jackson got himself into a little hot water this week with his Brokeback Mountain quote: “We call this a ‘Brokeback Mountain’ game, because there’s so much penetration and kickouts,” Jackson said. “It was one of those games.” But Phil is actually famous as being one of the deeper thinking coaches too, so I thought we’d look at some of his better known quotes, I ranked them in order of perceived depth, 1 being deeper than San Antonio’s bench and.. well.. you get the idea..
1) “I gave it my body and mind, but I have kept my soul.” You have to love his way of saying give something your all, but not all of yourself.
2) “Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength.” Another classic - this time we’re given a subtle twist on the pen is mightier than the sword and shows how Phil loves his thinking players. The only thing more important than the heart in sports is the mind and Phil knows this.
3) “Love is the force that ignites the spirit and binds teams together.” Okay, this is the true hippy showing his colours, but he’s right just the same, relate it to the Lakers right now and see the one thing this outfit needs more than anything isn’t a defensive point guard or dominant power forward, but that ignition and binding.
4) “Approach the game with no preset agendas and you’ll probably come away surprised at your overall efforts.” Take this one to heart Laker fans, as too many of us ride the roller coaster of high expectation and doom and gloom before the tip-off of any given game. I guess only when we approach the game this way can we achieve the ‘love’ state above.
5) “In basketball — as in life — true joy comes from being fully present in each and every moment, not just when things are going your way.” From Sacred Hoops, Phil knows about the journey not just the destination.
6) “An acrobatic dunk will make it onto SportsCenter. A simple, unspectacular bounce pass in the rhythm of the offense will not. System basketball has been replaced by players who want to be the system.” If ever there was a more poignant quote about the modern athletes and their approach to the game..
7) “I think the most important thing about coaching is that you have to have a sense of confidence about what you’re doing. You have to be a salesman and you have to get your players, particularly your leaders, to believe in what you’re trying to accomplish on the basketball floor.” This is Phil way back in 1996 - just as relevant now though, you sell that system Phil.
8) “If you meet the Buddha in the lane, feed him the ball.” If you don’t like this, you don’t like Phil Jackson. He’s made an art-form of taking deep thinking and poking fun out of it at the same time. Hopefully he never offended anyone with this one - it may even have helped James Edwards get more looks!
9) “Yeah, I’m sure he’s upset about the game and everything else, but when you have an obligatory timeout coming in a minute, you might as well get rid of both of them,” Jackson said. “It’s like mercy killing.” It has to be here.. I like the ’sit down’ part and the put down at the time, but here is the deeper side.. ‘mercy killing’.. classic.. he has a unique way to put out a fire!
10) Okay.. have your Brokeback Mountain quote here.. “We call this a ‘Brokeback Mountain’ game, because there’s so much penetration and kickouts” Better still was the ensuing apology where he apologises to everyone he may have been offending whilst poking fun at actually having to apologise at all.
Where would we be without Phil?