The details of a tell-all memoir penned by one of the most famous coaches in NBA history have started to leak out. Legendary Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who is now retired, will release “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success” on Tuesday.
In the book, Jackson compares two of the superstars that he had the privilege of coaching, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Jackson has avoided comparing the two for years.
“As their coach, it's the differences between them that intrigue me more than their similarities. Michael was stronger, with bigger shoulders and a sturdier frame,” Jackson, 67, wrote. “Eleven Rings” was co-written by award-winning author Hugh Delehanty.
Jackson continued: “One of the biggest differences between the two stars from my perspective was Michael's superior skills as a leader. Though at times he could be hard on his teammates, Michael was masterful at controlling the emotional climate of the team with the power of his presence.”
This is part of what he had to say about Bryant:
“Once he bought into the triangle, he knew instinctively how to get the players on board to make it work. Kobe had a long way to go before he could make that claim. He talked a good game, but he'd yet to experience the cold truth of leadership in his bones, as Michael had. Soon that too would begin to change.”
He also delved into how he tried to defuse the famous 2004 feud between Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, The Daily Mail reported.
“I consulted a psychotherapist, who suggested that the best way to deal with someone like Kobe was to (1) dial back the criticism and give him a lot of positive feedback, (2) not do anything that might embarrass him in front of his peers, and (3) allow him to think that what I wanted him to do was his idea. I tried some of these tactics and they helped somewhat.”
He continues: “But Kobe was in heavy-duty survival mode, and when the pressure became unbearable, his instinctive reaction was to lash out. I realized there wasn't much I could do to change his behavior. But what I could do was change the way I reacted to his angry outbursts. This was an important lesson for me. Managing anger is every coach's most difficult task. It requires a great deal of patience and finesse because the line between the aggressive intensity needed to win games and destructive anger is often razor thin."