New York Knicks

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Props Slaps
 4 years ago '04        #10721
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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$42,410 | Props total: 3979 3979
Ohm Youngmisuk

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Carmelo Anthony said he is willing to make changes to his game if Phil Jackson believes the prolific scorer has to do so to win an NBA title.

Anthony, who is a pending free agent, said the Knicks' big picture "is definitely more attractive" with Jackson's arrival.

"I'm willing to do whatever," Anthony said after practice Monday. "As long as it's gonna put me in a position to win, I'm willing to do whatever. I'm not sold or stuck on my play."

"What I've been able to do these past 10-11 years has gotten me at where I am right now," Anthony continued. "If Phil wants to come in and change that this late in my career, if it's going to help me win a championship, I'm with it."

The Knicks will hold a news conference Tuesday morning to introduce Jackson's arrival to handle basketball decisions for the club. Anthony's status after the season will be Jackson's first major decision.

Anthony says he will opt out of his contract and become a free agent this summer. He can re-sign with the Knicks to a max deal worth $129 million over five years. If he signs with another team, he can do so for four years and $96 million, barring a sign-and-trade.

He said earlier in the season that his priority was to remain in New York, but the Knicks (27-40) have had a rocky season. However, they have won six straight games and are 3½ games out of the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

"As far as knowing what it takes to win, Phil is the best to ever do it," Anthony said. "So for me to be able to have the opportunity and have him by my side, for him to teach me, you know, because I'm still willing to learn the game of basketball.

"And I haven't won anything [and] he's won a lot. I can learn a lot from him and his system, things that he wants to incorporate here. I'm hoping and praying this all works."

Anthony said he hasn't spoken to Jackson but will attend Tuesday's news conference if he can.

Amar'e Stoudemire also is looking forward to sitting down with Jackson at some point soon.

"From a basketball standpoint, he's a great mind to dissect," Stoudemire said. "And also from a spiritual standpoint, he is known as the Zen guy, so that would be great to sit down and have a great conversation with him."

Coach Mike Woodson said "There's a buzz in the air" with Jackson's arrival. Anthony certainly is excited about the prospect of teaming with Jackson.

"Everybody as an organization, as a city, as a whole, our fans in general as well, everybody's excited to see that," Anthony said. "We are playing good basketball right now too, so it's like a lot of things coming into place right now."

"His résumé is his résumé. You can't change that," he added. "Everybody sees that. Regardless of who you are, what type of player you are, you see a Phil Jackson résumé and you automatically gravitate towards that."
 4 years ago '04        #10722
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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$42,410 | Props total: 3979 3979
looks like Earl Clark won't be back but Shannon Brown will remain with the Knicks for the rest of the season
 03-20-2014, 01:24 PM         #10723
Kitsch 
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 Born_Loser said:
looks like Earl Clark won't be back but Shannon Brown will remain with the Knicks for the rest of the season
 4 years ago '07        #10724
Funeral James 24 heat pts24
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$16,577 | Props total: 557 557
I liked Earl, him and Shumpert should be more aggressive though..




  8 - 4 STRK: 1 l in a row WIN PCT: 66% 101 (0) 
  Career: | Aug 17: 16-22, Rank #607 | Aug 16: 47-24, Rank #82 | Aug 15: 53-44, Rank #135 | Aug 14: 155-91, Rank #48 | Aug 13: 64-32, Rank #54 | Aug 12: 212-123, Rank #30 | Aug 11: 333-187, Rank #38 | Aug 10: 1090-567, Rank #11 | Aug 09: 2-1, Rank #328 | Aug 08: 3-1, Rank #625 *
 4 years ago '04        #10725
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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$42,410 | Props total: 3979 3979
Jared Zwerling

Phil Jackson might have given New York new life this week, but the one who really brought relevance back to the modern-day Knicks was Amar'e Stoudemire, in the summer of 2010. Who knows where things would've stood today without Stoudemire leading it off? Then came Carmelo Anthony, followed by Tyson Chandler. Overall, three straight playoff appearances.

That was all part of a plan put into motion when Stoudemire and Knicks owner James Dolan first met privately to discuss a deal, as well as future personnel and development, in July 2010. Four years later, it's remarkable in many ways that Stoudemire is still standing tall and talented. During that span, he's had to overcome three knee surgeries—as well as other injuries—and reinvent his game to become more of a low-post threat.

While Stoudemire's massive $21.7 million salary gets most of the national attention—his co-agent, Travis King, admits trade inquires might happen after the season because of the expiring contact in 2015—his consistent productivity in his 12th season is noteworthy. Though the Knicks could still miss the playoffs, he's not the reason. Stoudemire has missed only 16 games this season (72 the two previous) and is shooting 55.2 percent on only 8.1 attempts in 21 minutes per game. He had 21 points in an upset of the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night, the Knicks' season-high seventh straight win.

Speaking with Bleacher Report over dinner at his New York City penthouse apartment in the West Village this week, Stoudemire reflected on his Knicks signing, the ups and downs of the past four years, his continued faith in the team and goal of winning a title, what's next in New York and much more. With his consent, his insights are presented here from his first-person perspective, edited for clarity and length.

The Arrival

I first came to New York City on July 4, 2010.

That night, I went to James Dolan's house party, and the next day, with my agents Happy Walters and Travis King and the rest of my business team, I met with Mr. Dolan at the Four Seasons hotel. All of the main Knicks personnel were there, too. We sat down and had brunch, and afterward Mr. Dolan and I met alone at the hotel.

It was great to meet with him. We talked about some basketball, and we just had a great time together. We really hit it off very well, and he asked me to come to New York for the max amount. At the time, the Miami Heat were a serious option for me—I met with them first—but they were waiting on LeBron James to make a decision. I didn't want to wait. Also, the plan was for my business team and I to still fly to Chicago to meet with the Bulls, but I told Mr. Dolan in our meeting that I wanted to come to New York. And that was it.

A lot of people were like, "Why would you want to go to New York? There's no winning mentality there." They hadn't been to the playoffs in six years at the time. But the first year coming to New York was really trying to change to a winning mentality. That's why signing with the Knicks is still my biggest highlight in New York.

I was like, "The Knicks are back." I mean, those words were gold to the city of New York, and to follow through with that was even more precious. I think that's why the fans here have such an open heart for me, because there was a time when a winning mentality was much needed and no one wanted to come to New York. It was a forbidden place, and I took the chance to come here and Mr. Dolan took the chance on signing me, so we had a great marriage.

I mean, it wasn't an easy decision—looking at the roster at the time, it wasn't very intriguing—but I was familiar with Mike D'Antoni's system from Phoenix, and I knew he could win with not-so-great talent because the ball moves, everyone gets the ball and he brings out the best in players. So I knew that was a positive for me to come here. My business team and I also knew that Mr. Dolan was going to spend the money to do what he had to do to put a solid roster together, and he worked with Donnie Walsh, one of the top GMs in basketball at the time.

Another intriguing factor about New York was that it's New York City. I wanted to be the face of a franchise and wanted to play in a huge market. New York is the mecca of basketball, playing in the Garden. I also very intrigued with the fashion. It was just everything about New York. I knew that signing with the Knicks came with a lot of expectations, but I was fearless and ready to accept the challenge.

The Sidekick

I also knew that I needed a star teammate, and that's something I talked to Mr. Dolan about when I signed. My ultimate goal my first year in New York was really to set the tone from a winning standpoint, and then to bring in players that were going to help capitalize and build on that. I mentioned a few players to Mr. Dolan who would be fun to play with, and Melo was one of them. Mr. Dolan and I talked about, "Which players in the near future are going to be available?" Then we said, "Let's make the move and try to trade for Melo." That's how things first started with the Knicks going after Carmelo Anthony. That was a decision Dolan pretty much made with helping myself.

Melo and I have always been friends. We've always admired each other's games. My business team and I actually went out to dinner with Melo's friends in L.A. before the whole free-agency process started, and we talked a lot about playing ball together one day. That was definitely a highlight for me to play with him that first season; also breaking that 48-year-old record with the nine consecutive 30-point games. I mean, that was remarkable. Those are probably the two main highlights, and then making the playoffs for the first time in six years was a lot of fun, playing against Boston.

The Setbacks

But then I was hit with a couple of injuries.

Last season was extremely tough. I came back from left knee surgery on New Year's Day, played well and then I got hurt again and needed right knee surgery in March. It was tough because I wanted to do more, I wanted to be myself as a player and really provide for the city and for the state and just for the team, but I couldn't. It was very frustrating, a lot of long nights.

My energy is also not the same when I know if I'm injured because I want to provide more. I can't be at the level that I want to be because I can't show them what I'm talking about. I can't really lead from the bench; I need to be playing. And so it makes me a little more reserved as far as leading and not playing. That's frustrating because I'm a natural-born leader and I love to lead and lead by example, and then show guys and teach them. I love that aspect of the game of basketball.

I happened to get married in December 2012, and that helped me through my difficult time because I could depend on my wife, Alexis, and children to help get me over the hump mentally. My family has always been there and very supportive. When I see my children, I kind of forget about what happened. I've also got my Team STAT. My business team is always optimistic, saying, "Hey, stay focused, keep working." And then when I get my eight hours of sleep, I wake up enthusiastic, ready to train, ready to work. So with building on that consistently, I'm positive about things.

Studying my spirituality helps in that regard. That's why I'm excited to talk to Phil Jackson, big time—spiritually and mentally, and about basketball. I'm a Zen guy. I love the peaceful spiritual element of what Phil brings to the table for sure, and then also the winning mentality. That all ties in.

I'm also constantly reading the Bible. I'm actually working on a college curriculum that ties in Biblical history and lifestyle enhancement improvement, which has already been credit-approved in the state of New York. Overall, I'm always studying. I read all kinds of books—a lot of history books, a lot of different religious books, a lot of books on activists and just special people in history. I read Jackson's book, Eleven Rings, and I've read some of Michael Jordan's books. I mean, anything I can get my hands on, I'll read it. The more you read and study, the smarter you're going to become.

The Recovery

I've had a similar mindset with training to recover from my injuries. The more you train as a player, the better you're going to become. When you're putting in that type of work and you've got that type of understanding, it becomes natural. I love to train. That's why I'm known as one of the hardest workers in the league. I tell my teammates all the time, "I may become a physical trainer when I'm done playing."

I help any of my teammates, like when Iman Shumpert went through his knee procedure in 2012. When guys get hurt within the Knicks, I'm there to school them on a few things. I also called Derrick Rose's agent, Arn Tellem, to relay a message from me to him when he had his second knee surgery last year. I told him, "Stay positive, keep your head up, continue to work. You've just got to be tough, you've just got to stay optimistic, stay positive, because you have a goal in mind as a player."

I think every great player has a goal, a vision, of what they want to be. And when hiccups happen from an injury standpoint, you can't let that take you off track. It may reduce the time of you getting there, but you just can't say, "I can't achieve that any more." My goal is to become a Hall of Famer. I want to keep working and keep training and focus on getting better and being a great teammate and winning, so I can eventually get to that goal. That's what fueled me to keep f!ghting and keep achieving.

My intense training focus first started after my microfracture surgery in 2005. That was the hardest recovery I've ever been through in my life. I actually didn't know what a microfracture was. If I had known what a microfracture was, I would have never gotten that procedure. Going into surgery, it actually wasn't guaranteed that I was going to have a microfracture.

The doctors said, "There's an option between a scope or a microfracture depending on how big the injury is." So I said, "OK." They said, "We're going to go in and see, and if it's a microfracture we're just going to have the procedure." So I wake up and there's a microfracture, so I'm like, "Holy smokes. How long am I out for?" They said, "Six to 12 months." I couldn't walk for like two months after the procedure. No weight bearing and I had a machine that flexed my knee for me. I was like, "Man, this is crazy."

When I went through the recovery, one day I feel great and the next day I'm in excruciating pain. It was just back and forth. I'm hearing, "Stoudemire will never be the same. He will not recover from this injury." They're naming Jamal Mashburn, Penny Hardaway, Chris Webber—all these great players who had this procedure and never returned. And I have a day where I feel like, "Oh, I'm back," and then I feel like, "Oh, can I ever get back?" So I had to work and train and work and train, and I developed a habit of training.

While injuries happen and you just can't control them, you can try to prevent them or recover from them better by exercising and eating a certain way. I was once told, "Look at yourself as a world-class athlete, and once you look at yourself that way, you will physically and mentally fuel yourself as a world-class athlete." That's why my personal chef, Max Hardy, was a good investment with me coming to New York to make sure that I was eating healthy and staying lean. Those things have helped me persevere through my injuries.
 4 years ago '04        #10726
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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$42,410 | Props total: 3979 3979
The Resurgence

When I was hurt, I think people kind of forgot about my talents and what I have accomplished. But l still stayed optimistic throughout the coaching changes, player changes and management changes. I stayed positive from going from a starter to coming off the bench, to now restricted minutes. I knew that if I continued to work, one day the Knicks would say, "STAT, we need you again." Going into this past summer, I was able to really train and get my body back in top shape and get stronger again.

Now, I've had a successful, injury-free year so far and I'm back in the starting lineup. From the hard work that I put in, I knew it was going to manifest into some positive. I feel like I'm back to my dominant self and I'm still improving, still getting better, still getting stronger. Now, we're on a seven-game winning streak and we've got a chance to make the playoffs. We dug ourselves a hole, but we're f!ghting out of it somewhat, climbing out of the hole, so I feel positive about that.

The entire season, I've been feeling great, and it's just showing now with the consistency of minutes and play. Also, my good starts carry momentum throughout the game. To be honest, I've felt active and explosive all season. My preparation is still the same, my game is still the same, my explosiveness is still there as it was to start the year off. My training regimen was to be explosive and dominant from the start of the season, so that hasn't really changed at all, to be honest with you.

My career in New York has been somewhat of a transition. In my first season, I was a complete player—I had the quick first step and was explosive, was solid from the free-throw line and efficient with the jump shot from the 15-, 17-foot area. Later, I started off working with Hakeem Olajuwon and was becoming just a back-to-the-basket post guy. And that changed. This year, I'm becoming my complete self again, just being an all-around basketball player and not just having one position. Now, I'm able to be a threat in the post and play inside and play outside, and be a stretch-4 for Tyson Chandler or whoever else is at the 5 position.

After I went down with injuries, everyone was saying, "Amar'e can't play with Melo and Tyson." I'm like, "Where are you guys getting this from? We haven't really had a chance to do these things." I'm thinking, "We're all All-Stars. Tyson is the Defensive Player of the Year, Melo is a seven-time All-Star, I'm a six-time All-Star. We've all been successful. We're top players in this league. It doesn't take much. We can figure this thing out. It's not that hard." Now in the fourth year, chasing the playoffs, we're showing that all three of us can play together on the same court. The sky's the limit with that group.

The Team

Right now as a team, we've got to continue to build on what we're doing. The ball is moving, everyone is having fun—we can't let that slip away at all. Everyone is just feeding off that energy of the ball moving and everyone is just freely having fun—and that ignites the defense. When you're having fun offensively and the ball is moving and everyone is scoring and you're high-fiving and you're chest bumping, defensively we're zoned in. We just can't resort back to not moving the ball, not getting involved in the game, players don't know if the ball is going to come to them, stagnant when it does come. That's when shooting percentages are low.

With that said, we don't want Melo to change his game. I mean, he's so dominant at being that player, mixing in with the point guards when he gets the rebound, and the wings fill the lanes and we go. Between Carmelo and myself in our half-court offense, we can create shots. But it's very important for him to stay aggressive and wreak havoc offensively in the one-on-one set. We need that. It's very important, but—as we're doing now—we need to mix in up-tempo, fast breaks, lobs, moving the ball. That creates a synergy that I think no team can match.

Looking ahead for us, health and continuity is the most important thing. We really haven't had a chance to develop a lot of chemistry together. I wonder how many different starting lineups we've had. If we're healthy and we're dominant, then the sky's the limit. You can build around that. I can't say which player we need, which player we don't need. It's not my call, it's not my job right now. My job is to stay healthy and dominate whenever I'm on the basketball court, period. So that's kind of my MO.

As for Melo, I'm not sure what he's going to do this summer. We haven't talked about it. I try to keep that a private conversation. I know he and his family are making a key decision this summer, and we know how great New York is. It's been a tough year for us because we haven't been winning, so I know all that plays a factor. I'm sure he talks with his family all the time about it, so I try not to bring that up. We talk winning right now, we talk about the playoffs and keep getting better. This is a big year for us to try to get in this playoffs, and then this summer is going to be very important, and next year we're going to see what we can do.

I want to be a Knick for life and win multiple championships here. I don't want to go anywhere else, especially with Jackson coming in. He has an incredible legacy; it's probably unmatched. With a leader like that, it can only become a positive output with that type of leadership. He's been around great organizations, from Chicago to L.A., so now joining us with the Knicks, it's great to see. Regarding the Triangle offense, it's funny because I've been hearing that it would be great for me for the past six years. It could be possible that we implement the Triangle offense, and I just can't wait to perfect whatever system we're going to be in. I'm ready to get to work now.

I want to play until I can't walk any more, to be honest with you. I'm only 31 and I just love the game that much. I feel like now I have a good grasp on how to go into the season, and how to manage my time and manage my body a lot better than I have in the past. Even after I'm done playing, I could see myself as the Knicks' a.ssistant GM or director of player personnel. With me being a part owner of the Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team, I've already talked to my business team about working in the Knicks' front office one day.



The Future

Reflecting on the past four years, the first year really stands out. It was all so much excitement that I had never felt before—playing the games and Raymond Felton picking the pick-and-rolls apart and throwing alley-oops, and then the behind-the-back passes and celebrations after the play, and then going out to dinner and having a good time with my teammates and my family and friends. Sometimes after a home win, we'd start off a dinner with four of us at a restaurant where I knew the owner, and by the time dinner was served, we'd be at a table with 20 celebrity actors and actresses.

I mean, it was just incredible, and then we'd do it all over again and all over again. I also went to fashion shows and then Broadway shows. I mean, there was just so much excitement and I want that to continue in New York. I want to get back to those winning ways—to having so much fun, and for the fans. Once we get back to that then we'll be on our way.

I think despite all of the changes we've made through the years, we've happened to make the playoffs every year, which was the goal when I first got here. I think the near future is very bright because we have a great nucleus with Tyson and Carmelo and myself, and now Phil Jackson. Those are all highlights that manifested from me signing here in 2010, when I came here to help the Knicks win. That's why I don't want to leave. I want to be here for the long haul and do whatever it takes to win, so whatever sacrifices I have to make, I will be willing to make them.
 4 years ago '07        #10727
I Am The Truth 1 heat pts
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$6,056 | Props total: 2549 2549
Standing Tall And Talented... my dude
 4 years ago '04        #10728
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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$42,410 | Props total: 3979 3979
just hope im just worrying but i really can't shake the feeling these n*ggas gonna get too c*cky and end up losing to the Sixers
 4 years ago '07        #10729
I Am The Truth 1 heat pts
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$6,056 | Props total: 2549 2549
NOPE! Phil Jack effect...
 4 years ago '07        #10730
Funeral James 24 heat pts24
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$16,577 | Props total: 557 557
Only player to watch is Seth tomorrow hopefully he don't go off and we get another easy win




  8 - 4 STRK: 1 l in a row WIN PCT: 66% 101 (0) 
  Career: | Aug 17: 16-22, Rank #607 | Aug 16: 47-24, Rank #82 | Aug 15: 53-44, Rank #135 | Aug 14: 155-91, Rank #48 | Aug 13: 64-32, Rank #54 | Aug 12: 212-123, Rank #30 | Aug 11: 333-187, Rank #38 | Aug 10: 1090-567, Rank #11 | Aug 09: 2-1, Rank #328 | Aug 08: 3-1, Rank #625 *
 4 years ago '10        #10731
Dextromethorphan 217 heat pts217
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$27,807 | Props total: 15 15
Cute thread.
 4 years ago '05        #10732
DrDeath 17 heat pts17
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$4,684 | Props total: 4549 4549
ATL and CHA lost so hopefully we can get back to work against LA tomorrow
 4 years ago '04        #10733
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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$42,410 | Props total: 3979 3979
Tyson Chicken won't practice due to personal reasons but is expected to play
 4 years ago '07        #10734
Funeral James 24 heat pts24
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$16,577 | Props total: 557 557
Tired of tyson chandler just watchin people score and the whole team stops moving on offense and just watches the ball handler

:nasmad:

I thought we honestly made progress then jack scores 31 a certified bum smh




  8 - 4 STRK: 1 l in a row WIN PCT: 66% 101 (0) 
  Career: | Aug 17: 16-22, Rank #607 | Aug 16: 47-24, Rank #82 | Aug 15: 53-44, Rank #135 | Aug 14: 155-91, Rank #48 | Aug 13: 64-32, Rank #54 | Aug 12: 212-123, Rank #30 | Aug 11: 333-187, Rank #38 | Aug 10: 1090-567, Rank #11 | Aug 09: 2-1, Rank #328 | Aug 08: 3-1, Rank #625 *
 4 years ago '04        #10735
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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$42,410 | Props total: 3979 3979
Berman

LOS ANGELES — Phil Jackson stepped onto the court for the time as Knicks president during Tuesday morning shootaround at Staples Center and appeared to meet with Carmelo Anthony in the locker room beforehand.

Jackson and Anthony were the two notable figures who remained in the locker room while the rest of the Knicks and coaching staff took the court.

Through a Knicks official, Jackson declined to talk to media who waited for him by the team bus. He never appeared.

The Knicks say Jackson, who lives in nearby Playa Del Rey, will not travel with the team on the rest of its five-game road trip. Sources say Jackson is not expected to attend Tuesday night’s game against the Lakers, fearful of the media/fan circus. Coach Mike Woodson said he didn’t know whether Jackson would show for the game.

Anthony said he’s more focused on this West Coast swing than on Jackson, calling it “make or break.” He referred to the Lakers contest as the most important game on the trip. Jackson has not spoken to the press in the week since his introductory press conference at the Garden, and he had been away from the team since last Wednesday’s game against the Pacers.
 4 years ago '04        #10736
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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$42,410 | Props total: 3979 3979
Ramona Shelburne

LOS ANGELES -- It began with an introduction, not an agenda. Phil Jackson was looking for a job befitting a man of his stature. New York Knicks owner James Dolan was in the market for a basketball man to help give his team direction and credibility. Music mogul Irving Azoff was a friend of both and just happened to be throwing a holiday party at his house in Los Angeles.

Who knew if they'd find some common ground to make small talk about, much less want to work with each other?

But Jackson has always been open to new possibilities that might stir a creative fire. And Dolan had been through enough with the Knicks over the years to recognize, and ultimately accept, that his mind was best suited for business, not basketball. So they both approached the relationship with cautious optimism. Cautious, because both had been down this road before and knew it didn't always end well. Optimistic, because, man, what if this was a match? What if Jackson could reinvent himself as an executive in New York, the place where his NBA career began in the late 1960s? What if Dolan finally bet on the right guy?

Yes, for Jackson, the job was 3,000 miles away from his fiancée, Lakers president Jeanie Buss. Of course it would've been nice to live and work alongside her and most of his children and grandchildren in Los Angeles. But sometimes arranged marriages are more functional than those who wed for love. Blood is thick, but it's also messy.

Even when it's over, even when the Lakers and their fans see Jackson's Knicks at Staples Center Tuesday night, it will still feel like things could have and should have gone differently.

To understand why it didn't, why Jackson has signed on to try to save the Knicks and not the Lakers, you first have to understand what Azoff seemed to immediately grasp about Jackson, but he, himself, never could.

For all the self-reflection Jackson has done in his 68 years, there was one image he was never going to be able to see clearly. His own. The way he's seen by others, that is. Not what stares back at him in the mirror, or what's inside his heart and head. On some level, Jackson understands that he is an intimidating man. His 6-foot-8 frame casts a towering shadow. His 11 NBA titles, Hall of Fame résumé and status as the coach who got the best out of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant walk into any room five minutes before he does.

It's more than that, though.

The job he wanted for himself, the role he envisioned for the autumn of his basketball life -- as a team president with final say over basketball decisions and the authority to create and shape the culture of a franchise -- is a large one.

Pat Riley holds a role like that in Miami. So does Larry Bird in Indiana. Jackson certainly has the credentials for a role like that, too. But it's a big ask of any owner. That kind of power is why an owner spends hundreds of millions of dollars to buy a professional sports franchise. So he can have the power. It is inherently threatening when an employee has even a little bit of it. It is kind of terrifying when that employee is a legend like Phil Jackson.

Azoff understood that instantly. He is a legendary dealmaker in Hollywood. While he made his name as a manager of bands such as the Eagles, he has long since crossed over into movies, real estate and business. Azoff and Dolan met through the Knicks owner's band, JD and The Straight Shot, but have recently partnered on several megadeals, including the rejuvenation of the Lakers' ancestral home, the Forum in Inglewood. He is also a longtime Lakers season-ticket holder, who sits along the baseline, next to Dyan Cannon, within earshot of the Lakers bench. He has known Jackson and Jeanie Buss for many years through his a.ssociation with the team.

For a marriage between Jackson and Dolan to work, Azoff knew it could never feel as if either of them was asking for anything. They each had to realize on their own it was in both of their best interests.

"Deals are deals, but they don't work unless relationships do," Azoff said. "The reason it took so long is I think all the parties wanted to make sure that there was a real relationship and bond before they entered into the marriage."

And so over the course of the next few months there were at least three face-to-face meetings involving Jackson, Dolan, Knicks general manager Steve Mills, Azoff, Jackson's agents, Todd and Brian Musburger, and several other key figures on both sides. They talked philosophies and beliefs. They talked contracts and decision-making processes. Who would have the final say over basketball decisions? Who would deal with agents and general managers? How would they recruit free agents? How would they scout? It was like signing a prenup. But the process was absolutely necessary.

And when Jackson finally signed on, both sides felt like they won.

"I always find that in every deal," Azoff said. "Both parties have to win."

It seems so simple, right? Like if the Buss family and Jackson could have gotten together for a holiday party -- or a boys weekend like Jackson and Dolan had at Azoff's residence in Palm Desert earlier this year as they were building their relationship -- history may have unfolded differently. Jackson might be scouting the Lakers' next lottery pick and readying a free-agent pitch for Carmelo Anthony instead of trying to persuade him to stay in New York. But asking to play that role for the Lakers and the Knicks is a very different thing, and Jackson never seemed to realize how threatening his mere presence -- both as a Lakers legend, and the fiancée of the person who'd been given final say over the organization -- was to the Buss family. Or if he did, he never did much to allay those fears.

If anything he continued to stoke them with occasional public swipes at vice president of player personnel Jim Buss, and in interviews that made clear he would have handled things with Dwight Howard very differently.

Then there were the angry statements Jackson and his representatives made at the undignified way the Lakers spurned him as a coaching candidate in 2012. Even if you believe Jackson was justified in saying any or all of those things, it is still a bold thing for someone trying to establish trust with an ownership group to do. But instead of meeting to hash out their issues, there was very little communication between Jackson and any of the members of the Buss family besides his fiancée. What did he ultimately want? Was there a way for him to run basketball alongside Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak, the way he will with Dolan and Mills in New York? Would he even consider it?

Instead of discussing those issues, Jackson remained a threat, rather than an option.

On an even more fundamental level, though, Jackson never stood a chance. He isn't blood and Jerry Buss had been clear that he intended for the franchise to be owned and operated, in perpetuity, by his six children. In addition to Jeanie and Jim, eldest brother Johnny Buss is executive vice president of strategic development for the Lakers, sister Janie Buss Drexel manages the Lakers charities, younger brother Joey runs the D-Fenders and Jesse is one of the Lakers' top scouts.

Jerry Buss had personally groomed each of his kids for their roles within the organization before his death in February 2013. He entrusted Jeanie, a natural consensus-builder with a business degree from USC, with carrying out that vision. If he'd wanted Lakers legends and a trusted hand such as Phil Jackson or Magic Johnson or Jerry West to a.ssume a leadership role, he would have said so. But on this point, Jerry Buss had been clear, and it was anathema to the Buss kids to go against his last will and testament so soon after his passing.

On a matter as important as this, just a year after his death, there was no way Jeanie Buss would've made a unilateral decision without the support of her siblings. And not only did she not have support to bring Jackson into a prominent role with the Lakers, it really wasn't that close when the subject was brought up in family meetings. At best, the family was split.

While there was talk and support for bringing back Jackson in a more informal role, it never went beyond family meetings or reached Jackson's representatives.

"There is no role in the front office for him for what he could contribute," Jeanie said in an interview with Time Warner Cable SportsNet last week. "Maybe I could have him sell sponsorships or work security but I don't think that would be something that would give Phil the kind of challenge that he's looking for, that would fulfill him."

They say you never really know a family until you marry into it. You can have a sense of what matters to them and the values they hold on to. You can guess at their dysfunctions. But from the outside, you're really just guessing. Sit at the Thanksgiving table or around the Christmas tree. Go to a family birthday party. Then you'll know.

Over the past 15 years, Jackson has worked for the Buss family, won NBA championships for the Buss family and darn near married into the Buss family. But when the time came to create a relationship and a bond with the six surviving children of Jerry Buss who now own and operate the Los Angeles Lakers that made them all comfortable ceding enormous power over the franchise to him, he simply couldn't do it.

The most successful coach of all time, one of the greatest leaders of men the sports world has ever seen, a coach who prided himself on building a culture of selflessness and community in his locker rooms, simply didn't know where or how to even begin establishing a level of trust with the owners of the franchise he was hoping to help run.

Perhaps it's because he had a family of his own that he and Jeanie Buss had taken to spending their holidays with. Perhaps it's because being part of a family business, where the brothers and sisters socialize in the office every day, but maybe not away from it, is different from marrying into a family.

Both times Jackson had joined the Lakers in the past, an emissary had helped to broker the deal. The first time around in 1999, Jerry and Jim Buss had commanded then-general manager Jerry West to bring him in to coach the team. West had wanted to consider more options before hiring Jackson, but in a meeting on the San Clemente Pier, the Busses told him Jackson was the man they wanted, so West went out and got him.

In 2005, when he returned to the Lakers after a breakup the season before, Jeanie Buss helped facilitate the conversations between Jackson and her father and brother that needed to happen.

Those conversations never happened this time. Perhaps too much had been said already.

Phil Jackson left off his basketball life in 2011 with more questions than answers. With a couple of guiding principles, a childhood musing about chasing adventures around the world like Robinson Crusoe, and a mind he'd trained to embrace the possibilities of uncertainty, rather than quiver in its existential angst. He planned to get healthy and spend time with his family. He planned to write and travel. He swore he'd try many things outside of his comfort zone, just to see what happened.

But mostly he looked inward. For a purpose or a calling. To understand himself and his place in the world. To find something that mattered and was worth doing.

The first year of his retirement, he spent with his family and focusing on his health. The second year, he wrote a book, "11 Rings," with longtime friend and author Hugh Delehanty. It brought back a passion for the community and connection Jackson was so brilliant at creating on his teams. It forced him to analyze and articulate how he did it.

Still, Jackson was torn. In an interview with the New York Times Magazine last spring he seemed to have accepted that the game was in his blood, and he would likely return to it someday.

"Can you think of anything else for me to do?" Jackson asked, to which the author said he could not. "It's a shame, isn't it?" Jackson said. "I thought maybe you thought I could be the president. Something really important."

Although it reads and feels like an acceptance, it was not a resignation. Basketball has always been his love. Jackson just needed to get to a place where he didn't equate returning to the game with a failure to find a new passion. He needed to want to do it again, and do it in the all-encompassing, mind-melding way he's always done it. Then he needed to find a situation that challenged him and gave him what he needed to succeed.

You wonder if that's part of the reason he never called to rebuild things with the Buss family. If he just needed time to work through his own feelings about returning to the NBA. Jackson was always going to have to be nudged back into the game. Restless souls need to be claimed and feel wanted. It took a master dealmaker to bring Jackson and the Knicks to that place.

Hard as it still is for some to accept, it is probably for the best. Marriage shouldn't be that hard.
 4 years ago '05        #10737
drama_kiNg 62 heat pts62
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Someone make a game thread
 4 years ago '04        #10738
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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Billy Witz

LOS ANGELES — With 8 minutes 54 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Phil Jackson had seen enough. He texted his fiancée, Jeanie Buss, and agreed to meet at the loading dock inside Staples Center where their car would be waiting. The Knicks were losing by 26 points.

“It was awful, huh,” Jackson, the new Knicks president, said with a slight grin as he exited a luxury suite in the corner of the arena and took an elevator down to the floor level.

In a season full of dispiriting losses, this may have been a new low. Clinging to faint playoff hopes, the Knicks were routed Tuesday, 127-96, by the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the worst teams in the league. They fell four games behind Atlanta in the loss column for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth with less than three weeks left in the season.

The low point was the third quarter, when the Knicks allowed the Lakers to put up 51 points, a franchise-record set not by Kobe Bryant, Jerry West or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but by Xavier Henry, Kent Bazemore and Nick Young.

“Fifty-one points,” Jackson, in a dark blue suit and a striped tie, said as he arched his eyebrows. “When it’s 35 points you start to get worried. When it’s a 51-point quarter, that’s really awful.”

If the Knicks are trying to make an impression on their new boss, they did not equivocate. It will most likely be the last time he will see them play in person until they return home from the five-game swing west that began Tuesday. Jackson said he had not yet begun to inquire about coaches, scouts or other front office staff he might want to bring in. He is in a.ssessment mode.

“We’re in a talent hunt,” Jackson said. “We have to bring in talent.”

The specter of Jackson floated through Staples Center throughout the day, hanging in the air like the five championship banners he helped the Lakers to as a coach. He still has a large presence in this city and while his courtship with the Knicks played out, there were many Lakers fans who hoped it would prompt the team to bring him back in.

But when Jackson watched a 45-minute workout Tuesday morning from the stands with General Manager Steve Mills at his side, he was in Knicks warm-up gear. As the Knicks arrived by bus, Jackson was sequestered in the visitors’ locker room. Carmelo Anthony, who would score a game-high 29 points, and Tim Hardaway Jr. were among the few players who saw him there. Most were out on the court.

If there was any discussion, it appeared to be small talk.

“He just sat back and observed,” said guard Shannon Brown, who played for Jackson on two championship teams in Los Angeles. “He told us he would check us out tonight, but it wasn’t like last week in New York, when he talked with everybody.”

When the workout was over, Jackson took an alternate exit from the team to the arena’s loading dock, bypassing reporters and leaving in the same Mercedes sport utility vehicle in which he had arrived.

As discreet as Jackson was, his presence permeated throughout the day. It infiltrated questions that were tossed at Knicks Coach Mike Woodson and Anthony before the shootaround. It wove its way into the fabric of Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni’s pregame news conference.

Most tangibly, it loomed when the game began, one woebegone franchise hosting another, only one of which might be rescued by Jackson, who watched from a suite while Buss, the Lakers president, watched from her customary floor seat across from the Lakers’ bench.

Jackson acknowledged that it was odd to be back in this arena with the Knicks. “It’s a flip-flop, isn’t it?” he said. He said several fans had stopped him and asked for an autograph or to take photographs with him, which he said he appreciated but often declined.

The whole evening had a strange feel to it, from the presence of Jackson, to Anthony missing his first seven shots, to the appearance of the recently released Knicks forward Metta World Peace — a cult figure amongst Lakers fans and a symbol of this season’s unmet expectations in New York — who conducted a radio interview from a courtside seat.

Later, World Peace joined Jackson in his suite, offering his a.ssessment of the Knicks.

“He was very supportive of his former team, the Knicks,” Jackson said. “He thought there were some good players on the team.”

Down on the court, they were not in plain view. The defense was woeful. The offense was stagnant. And the effort flagged. The optimism that was built on the legs of an eight-game winning streak had vanished.

In Jackson’s eyes, it was gone before the Knicks arrived here, lost when they collapsed in a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.

“This is just residual depression from losing a game that they were up by 17 points on Sunday,” Jackson said. “It kind of took their hopes away from being in the playoffs.”

In the locker room, the Knicks were in the familiar position of explaining the incomprehensible. Woodson said that “all hell broke loose.” Anthony said the Knicks did not compete. And Tyson Chandler said it was too late for a team meeting.

The man charged with cleaning up the mess did not have any answers, either. But he has only been on the job for a week.

When Jackson exited the elevator, he stopped to use the bathroom. Then he made his way down familiar corridors, through a door and to his car. An attendant held the driver’s door open for Jackson. Buss was in the passenger seat.

What did he have planned for the rest of the night?

“I think I’ll walk the dog,” he said.
 4 years ago '06        #10739
lmnop 122 heat pts122
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the lifestyle is back in full effect:

teams stay setting records on us
 4 years ago '04        #10740
Born_Loser|M 101 heat pts101
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we Eternal son!!!
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