Were Phil Jackson a lesser coach with a thinner resume, he might not have had the chance to retire after his team's showing in the NBA playoffs. He might have been fired at the final buzzer of his final game.
His Lakers had the look of an unprepared, out-of-control, uncoachable group of quitters and thugs.
Knowing Jackson as well as I do, it's hard to believe he mailed it in for Game 4 of the Dallas series. Having said that, what evidence was there that the Lakers were coached at all before or during that game?
It wasn't bad enough that they played with no heart? They also had to take cheap shots at the Mavericks, who deserve to be healthy going into the Western Conference finals?
If David Stern is as tough a commissioner as he claims to be, he will suspend Andrew Bynum for next season's first 20 games and Lamar Odom for at least 5. (If there is a next season, that is.)
As for Jackson, his legacy already was secure well before this debacle. He is the best coach I ever covered, better than anybody I've seen at getting selfish, spoiled millionaires to buy into a team concept. Yes, he was lucky enough to coach some of the greatest basketball players ever. That he turned that talent into 11 titles remains a remarkable achievement.
High schools, colleges and the NBA are filled with good X-and-O strategists. The best coaches are wizards at managing oversized egos. Nobody in the history of sports was better at it than Phil Jackson.
It's a shame he had to go out looking like a powerless loser.