Michael Jordan indeed guided the Chicago Bulls to six titles. It is also true that Phil Jackson was on the sidelines for all those titles. The road to victory crafted tons of precious moments for the player-coach tandem. Jackson named his most treasured Jordan moment, which may also be the fans’ favorite.
Last time on the floor
For Jackson, his favorite Jordan moment was their last time on the hardcourt together. This was none other than Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals. Before Jordan delivered the greatest clutch shot over Bryon Russell, the GOAT made a key defensive stop as well. The Zen Master revealed he may have played an instrumental part in those critical plays.
“I think the moment that means a lot to me was the last game that we were on the floor together against Utah. He was missing his shot and he was letting his hand go a little bit and I just said ‘You know you gotta follow through on the shot’ and then I said ‘Listen we’ve got 30 some seconds 9 seconds, there’s a timeout, they’re not going to call a timeout. We’re down by 3, this is what we’re going to run, when you score when they come back, they’re going to go to Karl. You can come back and strip him in this situation. You know the play, you know what they’re going to do, they’re going to cross pick and Hornacek’s gonna set it and see if you can get the ball out of his hands.’ and he did it,” Jackson shared.
Everything happened just as Phil predicted. For the Zen Master, it was a physical manifestation of his basketball philosophy.
Jackson wasn’t boasting. He doesn’t need to prop himself up. Everyone knows he’s easily one of the greatest coaches out there. But what he said is a good point of discussion. The media and fans are so obsessed with individual accomplishments. Every day there’s a GOAT debate happening somewhere in the world.
However, there’s little to no debate on who’s the greatest team of all time. If there is, it only happens in passing. Then the discussion inevitably reverts to the individual. While Jordan was the common piece in all those six titles, Jackson’s playbook didn’t have the name Jordan written on every page.
Scottie Pippen, Steve Kerr, Dennis Rodman, and the rest of the pack were also integrated into it. Perhaps this should start a new trend. Media would soon parse out what made the Bulls — as an organization — great.