The Zen Master Vs. The Wizard: Why Wooden Would Have Come Out On Top

Let's say I'm an austere foreign billionaire who has recently bought a respectable NBA basketball team and has commissioned you, my newly minted general manager, to craft for me a roster designed to win a title in only one year.

After that year, I'll sell the team and continue to luxuriate overseas, canoodling with my yacht club groupies.

Pretend somehow I have allocated the means to secure any one established player you wanted, the rights to design the rest of the roster however you pleased (within the realm of the salary cap), but without the constraints of contract disputes as I'm only asking for one try at a ring.

One team, One goal, and one year to accomplish that very goal.

Now let's say you had the choice of either John Wooden during his UCLA glory days to guide the team, or Phil Jackson—who last week agreed to come back to the Los Angeles Lakers to defend their championship crown.

Keep in mind that Coach Wooden never coached in the NBA, he also coached basketball in a completely different era—and comparing the caliber of sports people in different eras, is almost always frowned upon.

Nonetheless, he would be the oldest of the oldest schools drawing up plays for your team to compete.

Who would you hire?

Would you choose one of the greatest NBA coaches of all time or would you instead choose to have your team led by indisputably the greatest college basketball coach of all time?

I think the answer is simple: You take John Wooden without a doubt.

The case for Phil Jackson is convincing. The man handled Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant to a degree where both looked somewhat pleased with the job the Zen Master was doing—or at least, Bryant and Jordan enjoyed the rings as a by-product.

Jackson possesses a startling combination of basketball savvy and composure under pressure as he rarely deviates from ...

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