Phil Jackson Says Carmelo Anthony Didn't Know 'How to Be a Leader' on Knicks

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2021

FILE - In this July 8, 2016, file photo, New York Knicks president Phil Jackson answers questions during a news conference at the team's training facility in Greenburgh, N.Y. Jackson took what appeared to be another dig at forward Carmelo Anthony in a tweet on Feb. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)
Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

Former New York Knicks president Phil Jackson did not exactly hold back when talking about Carmelo Anthony.

Jackson appeared on The Curious Leader podcast (h/t Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News) and suggested Anthony was not the leader the team needed him to be at the time:

"Carmelo, I think, wanted to be a leader, but I don't think he completely knew how to be a leader as a player. And I think that the strength of his personality was intimidating to some of the coaches that were asked to coach the team. And so there wasn't this compliance that has to happen between players and coaches. And as much I tried to interject my own beliefs, I don't think you're close enough to the ground in that situation to really be effective in dictating how things are going to be done."

Bondy noted Jackson's decision to sign Anthony to a five-year contract with a no-trade clause backfired in the former team president's eyes.

"I wanted to trade Carmelo and ... he's got a no-trade clause that they asked for, but I suggested that if there was a situation—and I asked them to trade, I wanted them to be compliant with it," Jackson said. "And you can have all your choices that you want but I want you to go along with the idea that maybe your time has come with being with the Knicks. So that was met without compliance."

Any comments about leadership from Jackson are sure to turn some heads considering his resume. He won 11 championships as one of the best head coaches in NBA history while directing players such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal and Scottie Pippen.

When it comes to leadership and winning championships, Jordan and Bryant in particular are widely believed to be among the best of all time.

While there is no questioning Jackson's resume as a head coach, he did not succeed with the Knicks during his tenure from March 2014 through June 2017.

New York didn't make the playoffs a single time during Jackson's time as team president, which led to plenty of criticism for both him and Anthony. 

Anthony, who plays for the Portland Trail Blazers this season, has been in the league since the 2003-04 campaign. While he is a 10-time All-Star and six-time All-NBA selection, he has never made the NBA Finals.