Two things Phil Jackson has in abundance: championship rings and confidence in himself (and by extension, his favorite shape, the Triangle). Unfortunately for Jackson, that famous mystically charged self-assurance and aura of inevitable greatness has been dented since arriving in New York and finding the Knicks roster was severely lacking Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, and perhaps most importantly of all, Jud Buechler. It’s been a bumpy few years at the Garden, with the one mutually agreed bright spot coming from the versatile game of a gangly Baltic rookie.
At Knicks media day, Chris Herring, who covers the Knicks for The Wall Street Journal, asked Jackson what would constitute a successful season for the Knicks. The answer was vintage Phil Jackson.
Yes, it is possible Herring exaggerated the length of silence following Phil’s wacky answer. 12 seconds? Absurd. It must have been much longer. It seems equally as likely that the silence was not 12 seconds, but 40 seconds, or five minutes, or perhaps most likely, 12 minutes. It’s scientifically possible that by earnestly uttering the word “championship” in response to an honest question about the 2016-2017 New York Knicks, Phil Jackson somehow momentarily dislodged time and space, contaminated reason, and flipped the dialectic on its head. Just imagine the scene: Phil Jackson and a gaggle of jaded Knicks reporters staring at each other wordlessly, a game of high-stakes psychic chicken that went on for what must have felt like an eternity until Jackson qualified his statement.
But forget about Phil walking back his championship talk. Let’s get back to what is important, which is the length of the silence. For the sake of argument, let’s say it was twelve seconds. Phil Jackson has 11 rings as a coach. One less than 12, in other words. When you throw in his championships as a player, he has 13 rings, which is of course, one more than 12. It really makes you think. We will update this story when more details emerge.