By Craig Kwasniewski
We all agree that the greatest non-ending of a professional career was Jordan's game winner over Utah in the '98 Finals. The follow-thru, the crowd with "OH NO!!!" looks on their faces... the championship. Simply the perfect ending... if only the DC years didn't exist.
So what's the perfect ending to a coaching legend that has literally done it all? Phil Jackson has 11 titles, is the franchise leader in coaching titles for TWO franchises, is the only coach to ever take two franchises to threepeats, has finally won one over the storied Boston Celtics and has finally cliched a title in a Game 7. Except for a shot an an unprecedented quad threepeat, seriously what's left for Phil Jackson to do?
Maybe win title number 12 over LeBron and the Chicago Bulls?
Look, if the rumors are true and LeBron James and Chris Bosh are headed to Chicago (and it's a big if because NOBODY knows where LeBron is headed), with that talent and coaching the Bulls become the odds on favorite to win the East. And if LA re-signs Fisher and finds a suitable back-up point guard the Lakers are the favorites to win the West. What better way to end a magnificent career than to lead Kobe and the Lakers over LeBron James your former team? The series alone finally signifies a passing (or denial) of the torch to the next generation. And anyone who's read about or knows Phil Jackson understands his competitive fire. Beneath the many layers of Zen Buddha is a will to win just like all the other greats. He just hides it better that most... but he still wants to win just as much as Jordan, Kobe, Bird, Magic, Riley, Daly, Auerbach, etc.
(Plus let's be honest here, I'm absolutely dreading the prospect of Byron Scott taking the reins of the defending champs. They're too good to be driven into the ground by a twice fired, in-way-over-his-head, one-dimensional coach. I'm looking for any angle here... Phil has to stay, he just does. If not for himself, for me dammit!)
Anyway, the chance is there for the rare perfect ending for a coach that has done it all. Ride towards Montana with a title in hand after vanquishing LeBron and the Bulls...