Today’s NBA continued its transformation from a culture of accountability and professionalism to one of blame-shifting and irresponsibility, as both current and former Lakers were reduced to begging for one specific man, the retired Phil Jackson, to serve as coach of the team.
Kobe Bryant was forthright in answering who he desired as a replacement for the fired Mike Brown: "You guys know how I feel about Phil…He's realistically the greatest coach to ever coach in any sport…you have to reach out to him." (via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports)
Magic Johnson, while no longer in a position to make decisions for the Lakers, showed zero confidence in any other available coaching candidate. The Lakers “must turn to Phil Jackson,” Johnson stated on ESPN. “Coach Jackson would know what to do with this team.”
Here are two of the most revered Lakers of all time, with 10 NBA titles between them, essentially stating that the current Lakers team—a team with a combined three League MVPs, eight NBA championships and 31 All-NBA selections between them—are asking for failure if they do not hire Jackson.
So what happens if the Lakers fail in their attempt to rehire “the right coach?” Does the team earn a pass? This unfortunate NBA era has allowed players to believe that if the settings around them aren’t exactly the way they want, they have a legitimate excuse for losing. Or they can't be blamed for wanting out.
At this stage of Bryant’s career, it would appear that he is mainly concerned with strengthening his legacy. With this declaration that he cannot win a title—or at least would prefer not to try—without Phil Jackson, the cement of Bryant’s legacy is hardening around his ankles.
For years, intoxicated bar stools around town have trumpeted this fact: that Phil Jackson had not, and could not win without at least one future Hall of Famer in his lineup.
What we are hearing now, is that three future Hall of Famers - Bryant, Steve Nash,and Dwight Howard, two of whom have never played for Jackson—cannot win without him.
In today’s Golden Age of Entitlement, players believe they are owed what they want and have a right to act out until they get it. Los Angeles’ current state of affairs is on full display for all to see...the NBA’s darling franchise scrambling for a solution that will only reinforce the players' notion that management is generally incompetent. Even if the Lakers succeed in bringing Jackson back and go on to win an NBA title, the league still loses.