Phil Jackson Joining NY Knicks Allows LA Lakers to Finally Move on

With Phil Jackson now running the New York Knicks, the Los Angeles Lakers are officially on their own. And as terrifying as the prospect of life without the Zen Master might seem, Lakers fans, players and front-office members are all better off knowing they can't rely on Jackson to float in on a cloud of sage smoke to save them.

L.A. got its clean break from Jackson in the form of a press conference on March 18. It watched Jackson accept the Knicks presidency. And though it was a painfully abrupt form of closure, it was exactly what the Lakers needed.


Never Got Over Him

Jackson retired from the Lakers in 2011, walking away after winning five rings in Los Angeles because of health concerns and, probably, an understanding that the team's top-tier talent was heading down the wrong end of the aging curve.

Since then, Lakers fans haven't exactly done a great job of letting go.

When Jackson was in the running to replace Mike Brown in November 2012, fans at the Staples Center let their feelings be known.

They piped up again at the end of that season when the Lakers retired Shaquille O'Neal's jersey.

Those are just two examples, but there have been plenty of other instances when the assembled Purple and Gold loyalists gave voice to their innermost desires by chanting "We Want Phil."

The desperate cries were a symptom of a larger disease that afflicted everyone associated with the Lakers organization. Whenever anything went wrong, hiring Jackson was always the answer. It was a panacea capable of curing issues on the sidelines, in the locker room and in the executive suite.

Well, at least that's what many fans believed.

Kobe Bryant was as guilty as anyone, openly campaigning for Jackson to succeed Brown last season. And when the news broke about New York hiring the only coach with whom Bryant had ever won a title,...

About the Author