Phil Jackson

USA Today

Another Legacy Tarnished

Phil Jackson and Knicks Part Ways

Dan Dibley
June 28, 2017 - 9:07 am
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Kenny Rogers was on to something when he said you gotta know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em. He was especially on point when he said you need to know when to walk away. Phil Jackson is the latest example of someone who should’ve folded a long time and in fact, probably shouldn’t have sat at the Knicks table in the first place.

The Knicks and their highly-unsuccessful team president have “mutually parted ways”, after Jackson’s Knicks floundered to an 80-166 record in his three years at the helm. His tenure in the Big Apple was beset by feuding with Carmelo Anthony, multiple free-agent misses, and dysfunctionality and mismanagement in the front office.

His failure as a team president is especially galling considering how well he did as an NBA coach, winning 11 championships between stops in Chicago and Los Angeles. Had he retired from basketball after winning his 11th Larry O’Brien he’d be revered as perhaps the greatest NBA mind of all-time. Instead, he joins a long list of Legacy Tarnishers in a league full of them.

Kobe Bryant is (rightly) considered among the best 20 players in NBA history but he’d likely be higher on these all-time lists if he didn’t have two legacy tarnishing seasons at the end of his career. He shot less than 36% from the floor in his final, farewell season and was in danger of having the worst shooting season in 55 years of the association.

Michael Jordan undoubtedly tarnished his legacy with his 2nd return from retirement to play for the Washington Wizards. In his two seasons he did average more than 20 points per game but also posted his lowest field goal percentages of his career. No highlight package reminiscing on Jordan’s unbelievable career EVER show anything from his meaningless Washington era.

I can’t begrudge athletes and coaches from trying to make all the money they can but they need to know that their precious legacy could be victimized by hanging on too long when the game has passed them by.​

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