Phil Jackson: The NBA's First Part-Time, $12 Million Coach

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Phil Jackson: The NBA's First Part-Time, $12 Million Coach
(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

(Photo caption: Lakers coach, Phil Jackson seen orchestrating a Lakers win in person)

Lakers coach Phil Jackson talked yesterday on the radio about his next Lakers season and his health. He really wants to coach, but his health may limit his activity.

So he is proposing a rather novel idea, doing it part time. Staying home, while the Lakers travel, watching the games on TV, like we do, but getting paid millions, like we don't.

When I first tried to picture this, my favorite TV show, Futurama came to mind. Phil's face on a Plasma TV, placed on his coach's chair, barking out orders, whistling to get his guys attention, yelling at Lamar to stay focused. I can see Jordon Farmar leaning over to the TV and asking Coach Jackson, "Please coach, put me in!" 

But as Coach Jackson explained, Kurt Rambis would be taking up the reins while he's home.

Still you have to wonder, could Phil really give up his control, even partially? This is his team, his baby; he built them from scratch. It would certainly be a new chapter in his life, and adjustments would be needed.

And how would it effect his team's play? Would he lose touch with the daily happenings of the Lakers? Could he really do a PJ-like way of coaching from afar? Perhaps Zen mastering in an out-of-body experience, communicating by celestial stars.

Would he still be playing his famous mind games, but now truly meditating from mind to mind, sitting at home, crossed legged, thinking negative thoughts for opposing teams' players? "Miss, miss, miss...AH....uhmmmmm!"

At least the romantic side of me could see this happening.

Plus, I was also thinking, how would Phil emotionally handle the on-again, off-again NBA season? One week, intense home games, the next week, all-you-can-eat sushi at his favorite restaurant. Could he remain focused living so near the beach, with the beautiful and vivacious Jeannie Buss at his side?

Still trying to visualize the finalizing of all this, I came to the conclusion that it might just be crazy enough to work.

Try to imagine this: The LA Lakers are on a tough East Coast road trip. They are playing the Boston Celtics, and the game is tied, with two seconds to go after Ray Allen just missed two closeout free throws (hey I know, but it's my fantasy).

The Lakers have called a timeout, to set up what they hope is one last game winning shot. The players have huddled around not their coach, but a cell phone, as he is 3,000 miles away, in his condo in Santa Monica.

It's like a bad Charlie's Angels script, only this one is all too true.

"Lakers!" he exhorts over the phone.

"Yes Phil?" they answer.

"I've got a mission for you. You have to run a play, and it's dangerous, but I know you can do it."

Kobe: "Phil, we trust you. What do you want us to do?"

Phil: "That's good Lakers, I know I can count on you. First, Bozely, I mean Rambis, has diagrammed on the board, your assignments. Study them carefully Lakers, the success of your mission will depend on how well you do your roles."

Sasha: "Phil, why am me, Sasha, not in rotation no more?"

Phil: "Sasha, we can talk *cough-bricks-cough* later, right now, we have a game to win"

"Jeannie, can you scratch a little lower, that's it, ah, you got the spot. Oh, where were we Lakers? Your mission? Right...Jeannie, can you turn down the TV, I can't hear the guys...yeah I know, its the semi-finals of So You Think You Can Dance, but this is really important...and would you let the dog out? Thank you."  

"Now here's the play. Sun Yue is passing the ball in..."

Rambis interrupting: "Phil, Sun Yue is not here anymore."

Phil: "Uh...that's right. Then put in that red-headed kid, what's his name, you know, Waltons' son."

"Have him pass the ball to Kobe. That should do it. Let me know how it works out. Good luck Lakers."

I said it might be crazy enough to work, not that it would work well.

But I've learned watching him since his Chicago daysnever underestimate the power of the 10 rings, Phil will always find a way to get the job done. 

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