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The Pressure in Juggling Massive Egos
on December 31, 2004
Coach Phil Jackson gives his account of his final season as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers which included his juggling act in handling the egos of NBA players. He provides us with details of the tension filled rivalry between superstars Shaq and Kobe Bryant along with the tension involved in the quest for another championship. I found it interesting that Jackson was frustrated with Bryant to the extent he wanted to trade him during the season. At seasons end Jackson asked Bryant whether his being with the Lakers or retiring have any influence on his decision to remain with the Lakers. Jackson hoped Kobe would say something to the effect that he will be best as a player if he (Jackson) is with the team. Instead Kobe said Jackson's being with the team should have no effect on his decision to remain or become a free agent. Since Kobe had his prime years ahead of him it would be Shaq who would be dealt since the two could no longer co-exist on the same team. The Lakers, of course, didn't achieve their goal of another championship since they were derailed in the finals against the Detroit Pistons. I got the feeling Jackson was relieved to be out of the NBA pressure cooker although he didn't rule out the possibility of returning as a coach somewhere in the future. I don't feel the book is a classic by any means, and I'm sure the author didn't intend it to be. I based my three star rating on my interest in the subject, although I know the students at our local high school will enjoy reading it.