Phil Jackson has a powerful backer with the Los Angeles Lakers — Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers have a vacancy at the head coaching position after the team fired Mike Brown on Friday, and Phil Jackson quickly shot to the top of the list. While the Lakers also reportedly are interested in former Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni, the team worked with Jackson over the weekend on details like whether he would travel to all of the team’s away games.
The 67-year-old Jackson had knee surgery in March, but a source told ESPN that he is getting “better and better.”
Kobe told reporters that he would love to see Phil Jackson return to the sidelines for the Lakers especially considering how their last season together ended, ESPN noted.
“Phil, obviously, you guys know how I feel about Phil,” Bryant said. “The one thing that’s kind of always bothered me is that his last year, I wasn’t able to give him my normal self because I was playing on one leg. That’s always kind of eaten away at me that the last year of his career, I wasn’t able to give him everything I had.”
Kobe averaged only 17 points in the last two games of a four-game sweep by the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 playoffs, Phil Jackson’s last time in the NBA. Kobe was playing on a bad knee that would force him to undergo a blood manipulation procedure in Germany that offseason.
“He’s too great of a coach to go out that way,” Bryant said. “That’s kind of my personal sentiment.”