UPDATE: Phil Jackson told ESPN this afternoon that he is leaning toward retiring now, but has yet to make up his peaceful mind. There were no other details, unfortunately, so you’ll just have to imagine him surrounded by big-breasted strippers for a more awesome effect.
While Phil Jackson is kicking back, relaxing and having his big toe fitted for a new NBA Championship ring, he is pondering his coaching future as the deadline for his promise to the Los Angeles Lakers nears. Jackson told his team and the media that he would have a decision on whether or not he will coach the Lakers – or at all – by June 27. But it seems that his daughter, Chelsea, may have missed that memo. In the upcoming issue of Sports Illustrated, Jackson’s daughter says she thinks “this is it. I think he’s done.” A comment that my girlfriend also makes between 9:01 and 9:03 nightly.
Jackson had been linked to nearly every coaching vacancy throughout the NBA Playoffs and Finals, leading up to his 11th NBA Championship as the Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in seven games. However, the Zen Master constantly maintained that his two options were clear – remain with the Lakers or retirement. Chelsea’s comments contradict previous remarks made by her father, mainly that he would likely continue coaching, but she also promised to stop asking for a pony if he retired.
Paint us a picture of a man and a sunset, Sports Illustrated:
He recognizes, even after 11 of these things, that each one could be his last. Jackson has said that he’ll decide this week whether to return to the Lakers. “I think this is it,” Chelsea says. “I think he’s done now.”
Really, what is the difference between 11 championships and 12, between three threepeats and a fourth? Jackson eclipsed Red Auerbach’s record of nine titles last year. He could walk away on his two artificial hips and his bum left knee and be thankful the damage from a career spent in the gym was not worse. This seems like the time, with his contract up and owner Jerry Buss threatening to slice his $12 million salary.
Jackson has mentioned retirement as far back as 1996, so his looming decision could go either way. Unlike his old days with the Chicago Bulls, though, his health is the main factor this time. As his champion Lakers threw a parade and celebrated with their fans, Jackson was visiting his physician about his hips and knees. Fun fact: Jackson’s artificial hips are made from Red Auerbach’s old rings.
However, daughter of the Lakers’ owner Jerry Buss and Jackson’s girlfriend, Jeanie Buss, told reporters that she thinks he will hold off retirement to remain with the Lakers, citing his health as the only reason he wouldn’t stay. Upon hearing this, Jackson’s daughter responded, “WHATEVER! I HATE YOU! YOU’RE NOT MY MOTHER!”