LeBron James: Forget a Scottie Pippen, He Needs a Phil Jackson

Gordon TrueCorrespondent IMay 14, 2010

3 May 1998:  Chicago Bulls head coach Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan #23 look on during a first round Playoff Game against the Charlotte Hornets at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Hornets 83-70.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The real start of the great free agency of 2010 came with Boston's impressive dismantling of the league-best Cleveland Cavaliers.

I hear a lot of talk about LeBron James needing to find his Scottie Pippen. I would suggest that, more importantly, LeBron James needs to find his Phil Jackson.

Looking at the history of the NBA it becomes clear that mediocre coaches do not generally win championships. They never win more than one.

The last 14 NBA Championships have been claimed by a grand total of five NBA coaches.

Who are they? Phil Jackson, Doc Rivers, Greg Popovich, Pat Riley, and Larry Brown.

Even more amazing is the fact that 33 of the 60 NBA Championships were claimed by just five NBA Coaches: Phil Jackson, Red Auerbach, Pat Riley, John Kundla, and Gregg Popovich.

An astounding 44 of the 60 NBA Championships have gone to multiple-championship coaches.

If LeBron wants to leave the kind of mark in history that Kobe, Jordan, Magic, and Russell have all left (or are leaving), he needs to get himself one of what they each had. A championship coach.

Now, please don't misunderstand. I recognize that Kobe, Jordan, Magic and Russell, each helped to make their coach into a championship coach.

Great players make great coaches legendary.

Great coaches make great players legendary.

They need each other.

But just like great coaches can't make good players legendary, neither can great players make good coaches legendary.

So, if I were LeBron, I'd be looking for my Phil Jackson.

No disrespect meant to Mike Brown, who has performed his job respectfully, but I don't think he's it.

Similarly, no ill feelings towards Mike D'Antoni who has shown great regular season success, but I don't think he's it.

In the end, maybe the best place to find a Phil Jackson is the same place where Michael Jordan found his.

LeBron has an opportunity, if he wants it, to go to Chicago and pick his very own Phil Jackson.

If he chooses wisely, maybe LeBron will finally find himself teamed up with a coach who has what it takes.

If not, maybe LeBron will end up like Charles Barkley, Dominique Wilkins, Elgin Baylor, Pete Maravich, Patrick Ewing, etc.

Just another amazing basketball player without a Phil Jackson.

 

 

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