View Full Version : Phil Jackson vs. Red Auerbach

06-01-2002, 03:40 PM
From ESPN.com (I go with Red...Phil is a jabroni)

Two of the NBA all-time coaching greats have engaged in a war of words.

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson says he is looking forward to breaking Red Auerbach's NBA record for most titles won by a coach.

Jackson was responding to criticism by Auerbach, who said it's hard to consider Jackson a great coach because he never built a team from scratch. Jackson, who has eight titles as a coach, led Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen with the Bulls and currently has Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal at his disposal with the Lakers.

In his response, Jackson said he is looking forward to breaking the record because of his close relationship with the late Red Holzman, who was Jackson's coach when he played for the Knicks. Auerbach's Celtics and Holzman's Knicks were heated rivals. Jackson considered Holzman his mentor.

"Well, I know Red (Auerbach)," Jackson told The Los Angeles Times. "If you know Red, you know why I'm looking forward to besting his record. I'm doing it in lieu of Red Holzman's death. I'm sure it's a wish he'd have to see me replace (Auerbach)."

Jackson has eight NBA titles as a head coach, six with the Chicago Bulls and two with the Lakers. Auerbach won nine titles as head coach of the Celtics, and won them consecutively.

"I won eight in a row -- that's a little difficult," Auerbach told Bloomberg. "It's a lot harder to do it with one team."

Jackson can tie Auerbach this season. The Lakers are one win away from reaching the NBA Finals, with a Game 7 looming against the Sacramento Kings.

Auerbach said it's hard to consider Jackson a great coach because he's never had to teach young players.

"Most of your great coaches do some teaching and developing of players," Auerbach told Bloomberg News. "Phil may be able to do it, but he hasn't shown it. His teams have been ready-made."

"I concede his point," Jackson told Bloomberg. However, Jackson also said that Auerbach's teams included Hall-of-Famers Tom Heinsohn, Bob Cousy and Bill Russell.

The Celtics have also won seven championships while Auerbach has been in the front office.

Jackson said it was easier to win titles when Auerbach coached because there were fewer teams. Auerbach had said it's easier to win now because there are so many weak teams.

Nevertheless, Auerbach said he admires Jackson, who has been voted NBA Coach of the Year only once in his distinguished career.

"I've seen guys get ready-made teams and butcher it," Auerbach said. "He's certainly not butchering them."

Jackson has won 22 straight playoff series.