Have you ever had the feeling that you've been somewhere or experienced something before? Some people call that déja vú. In Los Angeles, we just call it the NBA Finals.
Lakers fans know—though they will not admit to it—that this is Phil Jackson's final year as a coach. It would only be fitting then, for a man who spent so many years as the coach of the Chicago Bulls, to win his last NBA title as a coach against the same team with whom he won his first.
Phil Jackson's NBA Finals run began in Chicago against Magic Johnson and the L.A. Lakers. Back then, he was on the sidelines as the NBA officially and ceremoniously ushered in the Jordan Era. This season—his last as a coach—might just end in Chicago with the Lakers, as he looks to help solidify the Kobe Era.
The Lakers are an NBA-best 15-1 since February's All-Star break, and they show little signs of slowing down. The Bulls, for their part, have the best record in the Eastern Conference. If the NBA is indeed about the drama, there would be nothing more dramatic than a Lakers vs. Bulls matchup in the finals.
So many legacies stand to be made, broken and affirmed in a potential Los Angeles vs. Chicago series.
For Kobe, winning a title against the Bulls means tying Jordan's mark of six NBA championships. That would solidify him as the greatest player of his—or any other—generation.
For young Derrick Rose, a win against the Lakers makes him the league's new No. 1 guy.
From a franchise perspective, a win in the NBA Finals this June helps the Lakers catch their archrivals from Boston, tying them for the most NBA titles in league history. For the Bulls, a title against the Lakers—the team against which they won their first—means finally escaping from the long shadows cast by both Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson.
Ultimately, this postseason run for the Lakers is all about their coach, who, with one last win in the NBA Finals, would end his career with the most titles of any coach in professional sports. Not to mention, he'll have a chance to take one final shot at his former boss, Jerry Reinsdorf.
The NBA has surprisingly made no effort to honor or acknowledge Phil Jackson's accomplishments or his pending retirement. Lesser coaches have received far more recognition.
Maybe the NBA thinks winning another title is enough for Phil. Maybe the league doesn't really think this is Jackson's last year as a coach. Or maybe the league just senses a bit of déja vú coming on—again.
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