Closing the chapter on this if Phil does go back into hiding till his book comes out...its only appropriate for Baby Zen Master to say the last word:
Q: On why more of Phil Jackson’s assistant coaches don’t have jobs around the league:
Kobe: It seems like all our assistant coaches when they left here, to even mention the word ‘Triangle’ was like taboo. I don’t understand it. I really don’t know the answer to that question. It’s very strange, very bizarre. You would think that organizations and other coaches should try to learn from Phil. That’s what you should try to do, right? If you have a coach that’s won more than anybody in our profession, you would think you’d want to study them and analyze them, and figure out why that’s the case, but they haven’t done it.
Q: On Phil adapting to his players:
Kobe: It’s his theory. It’s his philosophies and things that he lives by. It’s that whole Zen Master thing. He really believes in letting things unfold, letting players develop, letting teams grow into their identity, for guys to communicate with each other and be able to adapt to each other; removing themselves from the equation which is part of the mastery of what he’s done here. If you talk to Michael (Jordan) or myself, we’ll be singing his praises to the heavens. Michael didn’t want to play for any other coach. That’s just how it is.
Q: On what D’Antoni has in common with Jackson:
Kobe: Mike (D’Antoni) has some of the same characteristics in terms of not micromanaging – kind of setting guys up and putting guys in position to be successful. He was probably one altercation away in San Antonio from getting to the Finals.
Q: On what he’s held onto from Phil’s coaching:
Kobe: Everything, everything. I’m basically baby Zen Master.
Q: On if he’s thought about how his career would have turned out if he didn’t have Phil:
Kobe: I don’t know. I probably wouldn’t have learned the game to the depths the way I know now. But I think the thing about Phil (Jackson), (Gregg Popovich) and great coaches is the role player’s play very well. Guys like myself, Shaq (O’Neal), MJ and (Scottie) Pippen, our numbers will always be excellent no matter who you put us with. That’s just what we do. But them instilling confidence in the rest of the team, putting them in position to be successful, allowing them to play the fourth quarter when they blow a lead and let them develop, that’s what makes them great coaches.
Q: On maximizing his star players, too:
Kobe: He’s gotten the most out of their role players. When they play well and they have confidence, me, MJ and Shaq become more dangerous because those guys are playing with more confidence and those guys are making shots. You put us with anybody, our numbers are the same no matter what. But to win championships, those guys have to feel comfortable with their role.
Q: On whether he would have won five titles without Phil:
Kobe: Probably not. If you’re talking about winning championships, that’s what a great coach does – install confidence in the rest of the guys. Make sure they’re comfortable in their roles and that’s how you win championships. If you’re talking about from an individual standpoint, like I say, no matter who’s coaching I’m still going to do what I do, but it’s not going to equate to winning championships. If you’re talking about from an individual standpoint, I’m going to do what I do, but it’s probably not going to equate to championships.
Q: On what he learned from Tex Winter:
Kobe: I used to sit with Tex pretty much every game for two to three hours and watch the entire game and break down film with him. He was like Yoda.