Lakers coach Phil Jackson is known almost as much for his withering commentary and penchant for backhanded compliments as he is for his record 11 NBA championships as head coach. Consider the magnitude of the latter feat and understand what that says about the former. In other words, the dude is a Grade-A meanie.
Rudy Tomjanovich, a current special assistant for the Lakers and a two-time NBA champion coach with the Rockets, is up for Hall of Fame consideration. Jackson, in the course of explaining that coaches get short shrift in Hall voting, somehow manages to pour icy cold water on Rudy's bid by severely discounting the Rockets' championships.
Asked if he thought Tomjanovich was deserving, Jackson said, "We'll see. I'm not on that committee. I like all the coaches to get a chance to go in."
Jackson agreed with the argument that the Rockets' championships were tainted because Michael Jordan was out of the league for the first of their title seasons and much of the next. "Definitely," Jackson said. "Without a doubt. Clearly, if the Bulls were whole, we would have won. It's pretty much registered by now. When Michael played, we won the championship."
Note to Jax: If you are not on the committee and cannot vote on Tomjanovich's candidacy, the polite response to "Is he deserving?" is "YES!," especially considering that he is your co-worker and, by all accounts, a really solid dude.
Without question, Jackson has taught Kobe Bryant a lot in their decade together. But who knew so much Kobe would rub off on to Phil?