Phil Jackson Weighs in on Twitter About Superstars Getting Special Treatment
The social media show, that is.
Following Paul's game-winner, the Zen Master went on a Twitter rant of sorts, first discussing the different methods players use to create space on offense:
@clarencegaines2 yeah, not only are offensive players able to push off they can use off arm to shield off defense-Heisman offensive move.— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) April 23, 2013
Jackson then divulged what he used to tell the referees when he was coaching:
Whatever…my answer to the refs was: just call the violations on the superstars, make them play the game the right way-they make adjustments.— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) April 23, 2013
If you're slightly confused as to why an 11-time champion coach who has never finished the season with a sub-.500 record would preach parity, you're not alone.
Someone informed Jackson that Michael Jordan's "Last Shot" to beat the Utah Jazz in the 1998 NBA Finals came under similar circumstances to that of Paul's against the Grizzlies.
Jackson responded by employing the only tactic he could: denial.
As per MJ’s shot in game 6. That wasn’t a push off. It was a helping hand to a broke down comrade. :-)— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) April 23, 2013
For those who haven't seen Paul's game-winning shot, I encourage you to look at how many times he may have pushed off.
It's worth noting (if you didn't see the entire game) that the referees called this one pretty consistently down the stretch. Memphis and Los Angeles were battling, especially in the post. I even recall a play where Paul himself was sent to the floor and no whistle sounded.
Which is why I have no problem with the no call before the last-second shot. Paul didn't necessarily get preferential treatment if his space-creating maneuvers weren't among the fouls the officials were calling. And they weren't.
Jackson's tweeting session touches upon a greater issue, though, one that extends well beyond the confines of this one game.
Superstars have been thought to be favored since Wilt Chamberlain decided he wanted to lead the league in assists. I know you're aware of this conspiracy, and I guarantee you've been a supposed victim to it at least once.
How many times have you found yourself ferociously screaming at the television because your team barely touched LeBron James and was called for a foul? How often have you watched helplessly as a Kevin Durant drive culminated in a defender drawing what appeared to be a charge, but nothing was called?
Should NBA superstars receive preferential treatment from the referees?
Well, you're not alone, and Durant and James aren't the only beneficiaries either. Every big name, at some point or another, seemingly garners more support from the refs than most.
Guys like Tony Allen, though? Not so much. They're always the ones being sent to the floor, called for the foul or watching powerlessly as a game-winning shot hits the basket.
Many a fan has lost sleep because of questionable calls that could have went the other way or shouldn't have been called at all. And every time, we're inclined to shake it off or told we're mistaken. It was either in our heads, an isolated incident or just somehow happened. Superstars getting preferential treatment wasn't an epidemic. It couldn't be.
Jackson says otherwise, and as a former coached who has guided the likes of Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, among others, you've got to believe there's at least a trace of validity to his words.
Bryon Russell and Allen probably do.
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