NBA: Jakcson makes his exit
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. ó Phil Jackson imagines himself exploring the southern tropics next winter, or maybe circumnavigating the globe on a motorcycle.
The Lakersí retiring coach doesnít imagine returning to an NBA bench.
At least not right now.
Jackson informally wrapped up his tenure with the Lakers on Wednesday, three days after the two-time champions were swept out of the playoffs by the Dallas Mavericks. The Lakers have no plans to replace him imminently, but Jackson left only the slightest doubt heís done with whatís likely the last chapter of his unmatched career.
The awful ending to the season did nothing to change the 11-time NBA champion coachís mind about his future. Although he still loves basketball, Jackson wants to get on with the life he imagined growing up as a boy in North Dakota.
ěI have no plans to return,î the 65-year-old Jackson said in an emotionless news conference. ěToday, Iím sure. What itís going to be like in six months, Iím not sure.î
Jacksonís equivocation could keep the rumor mills turning for several more years, but the coach clearly relishes the prospect of his extended break from the NBA grind. He realizes that by the time he grows tired of the freedom, he could be too old to do this job ó and he appears to be at peace with the prospect.
Jackson said thereís a point in a coachís life at which ěyou either move on or stay in it, you never break away from it, and it becomes the rest of your life.î
As a boy, Jackson remembers being spellbound by ěRobinson Crusoe,î Daniel Defoeís 18th-century novel about a castaway on a Caribbean island. He tried to explore those boyhood dreams during his first retirement from the Lakers, but six weeks in the South Pacific and a trip to the Australian Open reminded him itís tough to be footloose and fancy-free with two bad hips and swollen feet.
Although his health and mobility have improved in the past seven years after surgery on his hips, Jackson still walks with a cane at times. Heís grateful to be rid of the NBAís regimented travel schedule, and heís hoping another surgery will make him mobile enough to pick up those Robinson Crusoe dreams again, wherever they might take him.
Associated Press As the new basketball coach at the University of Maryland, Mark Turgeon hopes to experience the same kind... read more