Sportress of Blogitude

Phil Jackson jokingly says Jeanie Buss told him to ‘destroy a basketball team’


Things have gone off the rails so severely for the New York Knicks this season that Phil Jackson relied on some gallows humor to summarize the sorry state of the team. He did so by jokingly suggesting he meant to ruin the team and that Jeanie Buss, his fiancée and Los Angeles Lakers president, put him up to it.

Jackson was asked after the team’s shootaround in Los Angeles on Thursday why he chose to come out of retirement to take on turning around the woeful Knicks franchise.

“It’s not something I wanted to do, it’s something my partner said, ‘You’re sitting on all this information. Come on out and destroy a basketball team that you love,’ ” Jackson joked, via the New York Post. “So that’s what I’ve done.”

Jackson’s first season running the Knicks obviously has been a disaster, something he even readily admitted when he said, “My experiment has fallen flat on its face.” And he’s right.

Even the most ardent, cult-like followers of the Zen Master would have had to reluctantly accept the Knicks were in such disarray upon his arrival that even his magic touch wouldn’t be able to turn things around quickly. And those who suggested Jackson wasn’t up for the challenge or was incapable of accomplishing the task grudgingly would have to acknowledge the same.

The Knicks’ nightmarish season (an NBA-worst 13-51) hasn’t been entirely Jackson’s fault, although he did have a hand in it. The fact that in a moment of levity he was able to jokingly say that things have been so awful he must have been intentionally trying to ruin the team shows he has a sense of humor about it. But Jackson of course understands that he must do a better job in the future to turn around the team.

Although it doesn’t take a genius — or even a Zen Master — to arrive at that conclusion.