New York Knicks president Phil Jackson has long known how to start conversations among fans, players, and the media. He’s decided to do that again on Sunday morning. According to ESPN, Jackson dismissed the notion that Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry is a unique player. Phil took it to another level when he stated that he coached against a similar player named Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, who was originally known as Chris Jackson when he entered the NBA.
The majority of coaches and executives in the NBA generally tend to avoid making too much of a splash on social media. The chances of San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich posting selfies on Facebook are as a good as a snowball’s chance in hell. Phil Jackson, however, routinely posts on Twitter, and he shares his thoughts and opinions rather openly. He even mentions the recent death of Glenn Frey and how the singer played a part in Jackson being in New York City.
Never seen anything like SCurry? Remind you of Chris Jackson/ Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, who had a short but brilliant run in NBA?— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) February 28, 2016
The intriguing comment by Phil Jackson might be a way for him to curb the hype behind Stephen Curry, who made an amazing game winning shot in overtime against the Oklahoma City Thunder. After beating Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, two of the top players in the NBA, Curry found himself being a social media trend. He was showered with even more praise than normal, which might have irked Jackson.
Over the past couple of days, Stephen Curry has found himself the target of criticism from former NBA players, including a pair of legends. Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar claimed that Curry and the Golden State Warriors would not have been this successful had they played in the older era. The two of them feel that Curry could have easily been bullied by opposing guards during their days because the rules back then didn’t protect offensive players as much as they do now.
Another potential reason why Phil Jackson might have made his comments about Stephen Curry is because of all the discussions going on right now about how the Golden State Warriors can beat the Chicago Bulls team that won 72 games in a season. While Michael Jordan has reportedly already given his blessings to Klay Thompson to beat the record, Jackson has yet to publicly make the same endorsement.
Then again, this could just be Phil Jackson getting people to talk. He’s been known to do that plenty of times when he was a head coach in the NBA. Jackson has even used mind games on his own players. A student of Zen, Jackson has unique methods of motivating people into doing what he wants. Aside from giving every player a book at the beginning of the season to read, Jackson has also been known to play favoritism, simply to see how players respond.
It will be interesting to see how Stephen Curry responds to Phil Jackson. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf also had a quick release, as he was forced to improve that skill because he wasn’t as big as the guys that he was playing against. To last nine years in the NBA requires some talent and ability. Abdul-Rauf was certainly a good player, but he was never considered to be the best player in the National Basketball Association at any point in his career.
Stephen Curry will either feel insulted by Phil Jackson, or he will use this as motivation.
[Featured Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images]