Phil Jackson is the Zen Master because of his coaching techniques that involved meditation and spirituality. However, due to the pressure of losing games, Phil once admitted he dreamt of inflicting pain on his players, specifically Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.
"I had a dream about spanking Kobe and giving Shaq a smack"
Phil Jackson's approach to coaching had not always been the stoic route. He was once a fiery coach in his younger years. But make no mistake, even though he was known as a Zen Master, it didn't excuse him from having violent dreams with his players. Amid a tough week where the L.A. Lakers have lost multiple games, Phil admitted the stress got to him.
"In the days that followed, we lost four out of five games, including a 105-81 "massacre" by the Spurs in the Alamodome. One night that week I had a dream about spanking Kobe and giving Shaq a smack"
It was a refreshing and candid admission from Jackson, showing he was still a human despite being one of the winningest coaches in basketball history. It's hard to imagine him giving Kobe and Shaq the scolding, spanking, and smacking, but if any coach earned the right to do so, it would be the one and only Phil Jackson.
Phil Jackson's key to success
Some said that Jackson's success was based because he was blessed to have star players on the teams he coached, but they didn't know that Jackson won 11 championship rings because he could handle the star players' egos.
Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Shaquille O'Neal, and Kobe Bryant are all Hall-of-Famers because of Phil Jackson's mentoring. He was among the few who appeared calm and collected on the bench but got his message across. Phil had set an example that sometimes, fiery style doesn't work.
The former New York Knicks forward treated his players as human beings, not just basketball players. He allowed Dennis Rodman to do his thing outside the court because he knew containing the beast inside The Worm would yield undesired results. He managed to calm down the competitive egos of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal and made the Lakers squad play for each other.
If other coaches want to emulate Jackson's success, they should build relationships with their players and make a system based on their strengths and weaknesses.