There’s no question that former NBA coach Phil Jackson is one of the greatest to ever do it. Implementing his trademark ‘Triangle Offense’ on both the 1990’s Chicago Bulls and 2000’s Los Angeles Lakers, Jackson managed to win a whopping 11 NBA titles, 6 with the Bulls and 5 with the Lakers.
There’s also no doubt that Jackson had some considerable help along the way, coaching perhaps two of the greatest shooting guards of all-time in the form of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, and also coaching one of the greatest centers of all-time in Shaquille O’Neal.
When it comes to the debate over who the better player is between Kobe and MJ, there’s probably no one more qualified than Jackson, having coached both legends for multiple years. And during a tech conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, PJ may have finally answered the age-old question: Who’s more coachable?
“There was something coachable about Michael that Kobe didn’t have,” Jackson said while headlining Utah tech company Domo’s annual conference Wednesday. “But Kobe had an irrepressible fire.”
If Jackson took Jordan out of a game because he was ruining the offense by trying to score all the time, then Jordan would do better when he got back in.
“He’d know what he’d done,” Jackson said. “He had a conscience.”
Kobe, on the other hand, would stand next to him and incessantly ask if he could go back in. The Lakers’ player had an incredible competitiveness, Jackson said.
“The reason Kobe was unhappy with Shaq (O’Neal) was (because of) his drive,” the coach commented when asked about the Kobe and Shaq feud. “Kobe believed Shaq didn’t care enough about the game.”
While Kobe played with his sights set on four national championships, Shaq once showed up to practice naked with nothing but his tennis shoes on, Jackson said.
“That was just his type of humor.”
It was pretty obvious to begin with, but both Jordan and Kobe, despite their similarities when it came to their games in the visual sense, were vastly different players.