During the first three games of the NBA Finals, the first two games in particular, there was a lot of talk during the games about the way Kobe Bryant has been playing. Kobe’s busted out a whole new face for these Finals, one that looks like a combination of a man who is incredibly determined to get the job done, and doing so while suffering from extreme constipation. There have also been a lot of remarks about how Kobe has become a coach on the floor the way he’s chatting up teammates during stoppages and timeouts.
Well according to former NBA center Alonzo Mourning, the floor may not be the only place Kobe is doing his coaching. Mourning was part of a teleconference with Shane Battier and Wally Szczerbiak for the American Century Celebrity Golf tournament on Wednesday when he questioned what exactly Phil Jackson’s role with the team is. You know, since it’s obvious Kobe is doing everything on his own.
In fact, according to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, the only reason Phil even needs to be on the sidelines is to call a timeout once in a while.
“To tell you the truth, Phil doesn’t have to do anything but call time outs,” said Mourning, the former NBA star who helped lead the Miami Heat to the 2006 championship and twice was the league’s defensive player of the year.
“Kobe is the facilitator. He is the one driving the mission of this particular team right now,” Mourning said. “The communication level he has with his teammates out there, you can just see it.”
“I think Phil is just showing up, to tell you the truth, and Kobe is doing all the work to make this team successful.”
Which is strange because I haven’t seen Kobe yell over to the bench to tell Luke Walton or Sasha Vujacic to get off their butts and to come in to give some starters a breather while he’s on the court. So I think Phil is doing at least one other thing besides calling timeouts.
I know that Alonzo Mourning was a great player who could have been even greater if not for kidney ailments, and that he won a title as Shaq’s backup in Miami in 2006, but Phil Jackson has won nine titles. Nine. One more and he literally has a ring for every finger on his hands.
I don’t think it’s Zo’s place to question Jackson’s worth.
Growing up in Chicago as a Bulls fan I can tell you that while Phil was in town winning titles with Michael Jordan, MJ was doing a lot of coaching on the floor as well, but Phil was still running those teams. That’s the same case in Los Angeles. Sure, it may look like Kobe is doing all the work, but who do you think has taught Kobe all the things he’s preaching to his teammates?
Hell, Phil probably taught him how to make his new face as well.