Phil Jackson on Knicks’ season during town hall meeting: ‘S— happens’
The Zen Master elected to spare season ticket holders attending a town hall meeting of any new age, long-winded philosophical pontifications when he described the nightmarish season — the New York Knicks have endured. Instead, team president Phil Jackson instead opted for bluntness.
“S— happens,” Jackson quipped,eliciting laughter from the crowd. “That’s something that we all know. . . . And this season it did happen to us.”
The town hall meeting with a reported 2,000 season ticket holders was held Thursday night at Madison Square Garden’s Theatre and lasted approximately 45 minutes, a follow-up to a video message and letter sent to season ticket holders earlier in the week.
Among the topics discussed were how the Knicks’ brutal season could prove to be a “godsend” in that it positions the team to possibly get a crack at the top pick in the NBA Draft should the bouncing of the ping pong balls go favorably at the Draft Lottery.
More than anything, Jackson’s comments centered around selling hope to a fan base left disappointed after a season in which it was expected the team would improve under his guidance, something he previously admitted did not happen when he said, “My experiment has fallen flat on its face.”
“I commiserate for the people who put a lot of money out there, who have season tickets who sit and watch the game,” he said at the meeting. “I empathize with that part of it. To rebuild this team, we knew we were going to have to take the team apart to get where we have to.”
Jackson added that he has mostly received positive feedback when meeting fans in public, although he does get one question more than others.
“I get most ‘Did you tank?’” he said. “No, we’re not tanking.”
Asked what he learned this season, Jackson couldn’t help but deliver a zinger or two, again referencing his interactions with fans.
“I learned to be circumspect as to where I sit at the Garden and not talk back to the fans that want to challenge me from their seats.”
A lot will have to go right for the Knicks to experience the dramatic turnaround expected under Jackson next season. But Jackson, ever the charmer, appears to know how to sell his vision.