Ranking Phil Jackson's Post Head Coaching Career Options
Phil Jackson called the Los Angeles Lakers hiring of Mike D'Antoni a "midnight coup" (via the Los Angeles Times), and due to the jarring nature of the announcement, the unceremonious way that he was tossed aside and, that he, as a 67-year-old would be one of the oldest coaches in the NBA, it's unlikely that he'll end up as a head coach in the NBA again.
In fact, Jackson said himself in the same interview that the chances were, "slim to none." Jackson was never looking to get back into the coaching game in the first place, but after the Lakers fired Mike Brown and ended up calling Jackson, it apparently seemed like a far less crazier idea than it would have been after he left in 2011.
Of course, the past is the past and the future is now, so it's time for Jackson to start looking into the future to figure out what he should be doing with his time over the course of the next few years and beyond.
There are some classic go-to jobs that Jackson can take a stab at, plus his name alone would probably be able to get him in as Matt Lauer's replacement on "The Today Show" if he so wanted.
The Zen Master has a lot to think about these days, so think of me as a kind of career advisor, or even a life coach of sorts. It's time for him to sit back, relax and just put his life in somebody else's hands for once.
5. Television Analyst
What is basically the go-to job for every single retired coach who wants to do something in basketball, but doesn't want to go back to coaching is doing something on television. With his knowledge and experience he would be perfect for it.
Consider him a kind of calmed-down, Zenned-out Bill Walton.
Like I said before, Jackson could probably grab any basketball-related television job he wanted—and that means any.
If he wanted Ernie Johnson's job, TNT just might give it to him. If he wanted to replace Marv Albert or Jeff Van Gundy, he'd have a terrific shot at the job.
Jackson could easily become an addition to any pregame or postgame show, any broadcast team, any production crew, he could be the sideline reporter for any station or team, he could travel around the league and be the third man in the booth for every single local radio crew if he wanted to.
It's definitely a job he would be hired for, and one he could do, but the question remains as to whether or not he would want to.
4. Buying into a Basketball Team
Phil Jackson's time as a head coach in the NBA allowed him to rake in the dollars, and he's got to have enough money to at least buy into a team as a minority owner.
If Jay-Z and Usher could do it, Jackson could definitely grab a stake.
If he were to go down this path, Jackson would basically solve the problems he had when he was working for the Lakers. Control of the team would be in his hands, and any player combination he didn't like, or any coach who didn't run things the way he wanted—hell, any popcorn vendor who didn't fill the containers of popcorn up enough—would be at the mercy of Jackson.
Instead of being at the mercy of Jim Buss, Jackson would be able to throw together a team on his own with no owner or owner's son telling him that he can't have control of the team.
In reality, he would probably be an extremely successful owner, general manager, team president or member of any front office.
If he want's a say in what's going on with a certain team, this would be the way to go, but it would definitely be a bit of work.
3. Keep Writing Books
Phil Jackson has spent most of his life as a basketball coach first and an intellectual second. It's in his nature to just be a smart dude. He exhibits that in the way he coaches, the way he deals with players and personalities and in all the books he's written.
Somewhere in between coaching for the better part of the past two decades, never missing the playoffs and winning 11 NBA championships, Jackson has found the time to write seven books, dating all the way back to 1970.
He has to have plenty of stories left to tell, insight left to give and ideas left to share, so there's no reason to believe that he's got nothing left to write about.
Hell, at the very least he can write some short stories, some poetry, a sonnet or two, perhaps a play, some "Game of Thrones" fan-fiction.
Whatever he wants to write about, I'm sure there's somebody who would read it.
2. Chilling in Montana
This is the one that seems more likely than any other option for the time being. After being spurned by the Lakers, it seems the best option for him would be to sit back, relax and watch the world go by in Montana.
Jackson has spent the majority of his life in the NBA in some way, shape or form since 1967—save a chunk of time between 1980 and 1989 when he was neither a player nor a coach.
There seems to be no reason left for him to prove himself as a head coach, and at this point anybody who denies him as the greatest NBA coach of all time will never really believe that he is, regardless of how many more titles he were to win.
Enjoy retirement, Phil. Sit back, watch buffalo run around, go hiking with Jeanie Buss and hang back for now.
When I read that Jackson's stated odds of returning to the NBA again were slim to none, I basically reacted like Lloyd Christmas: So you're tellin' me that there's a chance?
In the end it's all going to come down to whether or not Phil Jackson is digging a return to the NBA. If he gets the itch to come back, Jackson could pretty much get any team in the NBA to buy into him as their new head coach.
Perhaps he wants to coach whatever team LeBron James is playing for in 2014? Maybe he wants to go take over the New York Knicks and lead them a title? Hell, he could see Andrew Wiggins play in college next season and decide that he's the second coming of Michael Jordan and not feel complete until he goes to coach him.
The fact is, Phil has basketball in his blood. There's always going to be something telling him to go back, something making him wonder if he can go win one more title.
So Phil, I implore you. Take whatever time you need. Do whatever you want. When you decide that you want another shot at the league, we'll all be here waiting with open arms.
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