After flirting with the idea of only coaching home games (Mitch Kupchak: “Not bloody likely!”), then mulling retirement, Phil Jackson announced today that he’s returning as coach of the Lakers, full time. Apparently finished with a battery of medical tests more thorough than the ones administered to Linda Blair in “The Exorcist,” Phil The Departed is now Phil Of The Future.
This has to come as good news to Ron Artest, who won’t have to worry about explaining his special brand of crazy to a brand new coach. And to Lakers fans, who just watched Jackson win his 10th NBA title. Jackson has had a number of health problems, including a leg ailment, hip replacements and an angioplasty procedure in 2003 to open a clogged artery in his heart. But he wants one more ring: As they said in “Spinal Tap,” this goes to 11.
“This is something I never thought could possibly happen,” Jackson said Tuesday at a Staples Center news conference. “It’s a pleasure to come back.”
Oh wait, sorry: That was a Phil Jackson quote from 2005, the last time he returned to the Lakers, after being dumped by Jerry Buss the year before. Here’s today’s quote.
“After consulting with Lakers team internist Dr. John Moe, I feel confident that I can gainfully pursue an NBA season with another long playoff postseason. All things point to go!” Jackson said.
So Jackson evidently disagrees with the LA Times’ Bill Plaschke that this whole Artest signing is a mistake. I’ll tune in next year just to see how the Zen Master deals with Ron-Ron. Your Jedi mind tricks have no effect here, old man!