Jackson started out with a deliberately misspelled bang, duping everyone on the Internet with his very first tweet and then letting the unwittingly trolled masses in on the joke with his second.
11 champ;ipnsikp[ ringhs— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) March 27, 2013
Much better http://t.co/6edST6FAjG— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) March 28, 2013
Right off the bat, it was clear that Jackson was going to be a "must-follow."
Since his social media introduction in March, the 68-year-old has opined on just about everything. Some of his favorite topics have been predictable; of course the NBA's most ring-laden head coach would have thoughts on basketball strategy and officiating.
More surprising, though, have been his notes on the Los Angeles Lakers, pop culture and esoteric literature.
Through it all, Jackson has consistently been honest, clever and also not particularly concerned with the strictures of grammar or spelling. Hey man, he's a free thinker. Who are we to say there's a right way to punctuate a sentence?
Let's dive into the Zen Master's quirky, grammatically-creative pool of social media wisdom.
On the Lakers
If not for some front-office division and a late-night phone call from Mitch Kupchak, Jackson might very well have spent the past 10 months as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. By all accounts, Jackson's potential return to the bench almost happened.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, Jackson didn't get the job. Fortunately for everyone following him on Twitter, he routinely offered opinions on his former team throughout the season.
When Kobe Bryant went down with a torn Achilles, Jackson piped up.
Kobe wasn’t going to let the Lakers miss the playoffs. We watched him go thru 3 anguishing plays-the last one devastating…— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) April 13, 2013
if he had gone to the bench after the 2nd mishap? Like Rose of The Bulls one can guess, but what’s done is done. Reality not maybe is zen— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) April 13, 2013
That's vintage Jackson material, by the way. Those tweets were thoughtful, gave a clear understanding of the "big picture" and, most importantly, tinged with some new age-y ideas about the unpredictability of the future.
After the Dwight Howard fiasco drew to a merciful close, Jackson chimed in to clarify a few things, sticking it to the media, the Lakers and D12 with a couple of tweets.
Error in reporting about my involvement with @DwightHoward meeting. I was amenable to talking with DH, but the meet never came to play.— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) July 4, 2013
If you're keeping score, that's an overt shot at an erroneous report and a subtle one at the Lakers, who didn't take advantage of Jackson's ability to sway Howard's opinion.
And then he zinged Howard directly.
What DH brings to the game is power and D. This past year didn’t show due it to rehab and confusion. If he is better of an Astro, so be it.— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) July 7, 2013
Nicely done, Phil.
On Hoops, Generally
Jackson bombarded his followers with tons of March Madness tweets, educating them on things like the agrarian origins of Wichita State's mascot:
How many people know what a wheat shock really is? @krambis when I was a kid I helped my uncle bring in the harvest-he used a threasher.— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) April 6, 2013
first you had to cut the grain and put in in a shock and then transport it to the threasher. the combine did all the jobs at one time.— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) April 6, 2013
That's important stuff, people.
Of course, he also weighed in on the officials—both colorfully and more directly.
double fouls are chicken s__t calls...!— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) April 7, 2013
And when criticism of Jackson's beloved triangle offense cropped up over the summer, he took the opportunity to lampoon what—in his mind—was the uninventive, excuse-oriented NBA culture that has led to its demise.
Pundits say triangle is passé. Tired of hearing it used as excuse for players. System basketball takes dedicated coaching basic skills;— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) August 15, 2013
Footwork, passing, reading defense, and team work. The state of bball now is s/roll which is controlled by the dribbler is the easy way out.— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) August 15, 2013
You tell 'em, coach.
Social Conscience, Pop Culture and Miscellanea
At his core, Jackson is a deep thinker and a compassionate person. And although you wouldn't need those traits to understand that the Washington Redskins' logo is overtly offensive—a brain is really all you need for that—Jackson was among the many outspoken critics who decried the nickname.
“Life in all it’s many forms…” the use of the name #Redskins is highly offensive. It is time to find a new name. I suggest the name Whigs.— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) June 13, 2013
From one hot topic to the next, Jackson proved his ability to keep up with current trends. It's unclear how he managed to find out from his homestead in Montana, but when Kendrick Lamar claimed that he couldn't be coached and invoked P-Jax's name in his verse on "Control," the savvy sideline stalker had a ready retort.
@kendricklamar it’s okay to be cocky and sure, but we all need somebody to lean on. Let’s just call it mentoring.— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) August 13, 2013
Maybe it's just me, but I can never get enough of Jackson's polite, understated condescension. That was a master class in "you'll understand when you're an actual adult" patronization.
And if you're interested in the breadth of Jackson's musical interests, consider the following:
Queen Aids concert on Palladium right now. Enjoy Mr Mercury— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) May 28, 2013
Yep, from Lamar to Freddie Mercury, Jackson's got his finger on the sonic pulse.
But he's a reader, too. Check out his latest literary recommendations from the "Spiritual" section.
Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. The Last Temptation of Christ by Kazanzakis. for those who have asked— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) September 15, 2013
Always an unconventional thinker, Jackson has used his Twitter feed to reach a whole new audience with his unique perspectives. If you're interested in reading about the finer points of the triangle offense, he's the guy to follow. Of course, if you're looking for a few good books on Taoism, he's a good choice for that, too.
Jackson took everyone to school with his first two tweets. Chances are he'll continue to administer lessons as we follow him into the future.