Phil Jackson Reveals True Story of Lakers Snub

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2013

After a miserable 2012-13 NBA season for the Los Angeles Lakers following a huge offseason, many fans are now left wondering what could have been had Phil Jackson taken over the team. Well, at the very least, he's finally telling us all why he didn't end up back in L.A.

On a tour to promote his new book Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success, Jackson showed up on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to talk about the Michael Jordan versus Kobe Bryant debate and give his side of the story on why he didn't end up coaching the Lakers.

Much as the story was told when it happened, Jackson recalls talking to Lakers vice president Jim Buss for an extended period of time, telling Buss he was positive he could coach the roster they had put together.

Jackson requested the weekend to think about it.

But late on that Sunday night, Jackson got a call from Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, who informed Jackson that the team had decided to hire Mike D'Antoni.

The decision caused a rift between Buss and his sister (and now Jackson's fiancée) Jeanie, who didn't speak to each other for an extended period of time.

You know the story from there. Los Angeles was barely able to squeak into the playoffs with a 45-37 record and was swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round. D'Antoni's future with the team is shaky at best.

Jackson is now looking for a job elsewhere in the NBA, either in a front office role or once again as a head coach.

He's currently aiding the Detroit Pistons with their search for a new head coach, but his role in the NBA beyond that point is still up in the air.

I think we can rule out anything with the Lakers.