We catch up with legendary former Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson to talk about Jordan, Kobe, and his new book on Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm. Read an excerpt from his book, Eleven Rings, view a slideshow, and watch web extra videos below. And visit Web Extra: Phil Jackson Behind-the-Scenes to read a blog and view a photo gallery.
THE CIRCLE OF LOVELife is a journey. Time is a river. The door is ajar.—Jim ButcherCecil B. DeMille would have loved this moment.Here I was sitting in a limo at the ramp leading into the LosAngeles Memorial Coliseum, waiting for my team to arrive,while an ecstatic crowd of ninety-five thousand plus fans, dressed inevery possible combination of Lakers purple and gold, marched intothe stadium. Women in tutus, men in Star Wars storm-trooper costumes,toddlers waving “Kobe Diem” signs. Yet despite all the zaniness,there was something inspiring about this ancient ritual with adecidedly L.A. twist. As Jeff Weiss, a writer for LA Weekly, put it: “Itwas the closest any of us will ever know what it was like to watch theRoman Legions returning home after a tour of Gaul.”Truth be told, I’ve never really felt that comfortable at victory celebrations,which is strange given my chosen profession. First of all,I’m phobic about large crowds. It doesn’t bother me during games,but it can make me queasy in less controlled situations. I’ve also neverreally loved being the center of attention. Perhaps it’s my inherentshyness or the conflicting messages I got as a kid from my parents,who were both ministers. In their view, winning was fine—in fact,my mother was one of the most fiercely competitive people I’ve evermet—but reveling in your own success was considered an insult toGod. Or as they would say, “The glory belongs to Him.”This celebration wasn’t about me, though. It was about the remarkabletransformation the players had undergone en route to the2009 NBA championship. You could see it in their faces as they descendedthe long purple and gold staircase into the coliseum dressedin rally caps and championship T-shirts, laughing, jostling, beamingwith joy, while the crowd roared with delight. Four years earlier theLakers hadn’t even made the playoffs. Now they were masters of thebasketball universe. Some coaches are obsessed with winning trophies;others like to see their faces on TV. What moves me is watchingyoung men bond together and tap into the magic that arises whenyou focus—with your whole heart and soul—on something greaterthan yourself. Once you’ve experienced that, it’s something you neverforget. Read more here.
In the following web extra October 1995 conversation with John Callaway, Bulls Coach Phil Jackson talks about the team on the eve of what would turn out to be their greatest season. The team would go 72 and 10 in 1995-96 and win its fourth of six NBA titles. Jackson also talks about his book, Sacred Hoops.