SKIP BAYLESS IN ’99 “Without MJ, Jackson is just a pretty good coach”

SKIP BAYLESS IN ’99 “Without MJ, Jackson is just a pretty good coach”

The owner did it! This was the final conclusion of The Last Dance. It didn’t come to an end on its own. Jerry Reinsdorf decided it was over.

The historic dynasty was dismantled by the hand of their owner. It was the decision he had made on his own, but the one that was made on false premises. Because no, their market value individually wasn’t going to be too high. In fact, the guys Reinsdorf was referring to would’ve cost him only $2.6 million more compared to their final run together. And no, going through the rebuild wasn’t their only option. Even Jordan had said it; the only guy who needed convincing to come back would’ve been Pippen. Everyone else would’ve been on board for another run at the title, but their owner had already made his decision.

One of the greatest NBA dynasties was over. MJ retired, Pippen signed with the Rockets, and Rodman joined the Lakers along with the only guy who could’ve managed him in Phil Jackson. Phil was the one who didn’t want to go through a rebuild and didn’t want to coach a bad team. So he went to coach one of the most promising NBA duos at the time – the duo of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.

Jackson was the perfect personalities manager. The perfect string-puller for a young, bombastic duo. It was just the guy they needed – the one with enough experience and credibility to unify egos that were Kobe and Shaq. Everyone saw it as a good move for both sides involved: everyone but Skip Bayless.

For now, Jackson has fooled the Lakers, their followers, and himself. After he was introduced Wednesday as the new Lakers coach, Los Angeles seemed to believe the ‘Zen master’ also will rid the city of traffic, smog, earthquakes, and Roseanne. Before long, Los Angeles will learn the same expensive lesson with Jackson that Houston learned with Scottie Pippen and San Antonio with Steve Kerr and Phoenix with Luc Longley and the Lakers with Dennis Rodman and that Chicago will learn with General Manager Jerry Krause. They were all much better with Michael Jordan. The magic-by-association is non-transferable.


As it turned out, the magic transferred just fine. For Jackson at least. Others mentioned weren’t on the level of team success they were with the Bulls. Some of them weren’t on the same level of individual play. But saying that the only factor to it is Michael Jordan is going overboard. It’s an attempt of praising one with slandering others. All of them deserved huge credit for what they did with the Bulls.

As for Jackson, Skip continued with his underestimation of The Zen Master. According to Bayless, Phil was the one who most benefited from Jordan’s genius. So much that Skip was sure Lakers‘ fans have nothing to be excited about. In his eyes, Phil was the product of MJ, not vice versa.

Without the greatest player ever’s underappreciated ability to coach and play, Jackson is just a pretty good coach, spell-binding orator, and sly politician who was charismatic enough to win Jordan’s friendship and undying loyalty. Jordan made Jackson, not vice versa. In L.A. they’re celebrating ‘vice versa.; Media friends there tell me they can’t remember fans and critics so unanimously, unconditionally joyful over any move made by any L.A. team. It is now official: The Lakers have won the next three NBA titles, if not more.


Well, Mr. Bayless, your ironic prediction became a reality. Even more so, as he added five more championship rings to his collection with the Bulls. And no, Phil didn’t have Jordan on his roster. He did have a Jordan-like player in Kobe Bryant. He did have one of the most dominating big man ever in Shaq. But so did others. And guess what Mr. Bayless, none of them did what Jackson was able to do.

Not bad for “a pretty good coach, spell-binding orator, and sly politician who was charismatic enough to win Jordan’s friendship and undying loyalty.”

Bad for sensationalist who got it wrong, and is worshiping ones who he doubted years ago.