Phil and Kobe
Is there a better coach-player combo than Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant? I can answer that right now. No.
Kobe has not always gotten along with Phil. Phil has never had a tolerance for young players, which made their relationship sour at first, with Phil Jackson calling Kobe "Uncoachable", which was basically true. This is what makes Phil Jackson such a great coach; he is not afraid to tell his players how it is.
Kobe wanted to do his own thing, which is the case with some young players, and would explain why Phil Jackson does not like them generally.
Bryant was asked during an interview how his knee was doing. Kobe responded by saying it was 100%.
Later, Bryant was asked if his knee was in fact 100%, he responded with "Yes, so leave me the hell alone about my [expletive] knee".
After that, Phil Jackson said, "He's not 100 percent, but that's nice of him to say it".
Then when Kobe was told about what Phil said he responded with "I'm 100 percent, I don't give a [expletive] what he says," in a humorous way of course.
As you can see, Phil and Kobe are brutally honest with each other.
In the game of basketball, trust is particularly important. Anyone who has played the game knows that. If you cannot trust your coach or your teammates, you will suffer for it. We saw this after the first Laker 3-peat. Kobe, Shaq, and Phil did not trust each other, which happened for a number of reasons which we will not get into.
Phil has gone with Kobe in the clutch in games that are close. When Kobe has 5 fouls, Phil keeps him in. When Kobe shoots 6-24 in the finals, Phil keeps him in. You might ask yourself (but probably not) why would he do that? He does this because he trusts that Kobe will do better. Kobe finished with 15 rebounds in the 6-24 performance.
You may not agree with me, but what is the greatest coach-player combo of all-time? Kobe-Phil? Russell-Auerbach? Jordan-Phil? Let me know what you think.