Roll out the carpet, bring out the cake and goodies, NBA royalty is a year older today. The greatest coach in NBA history, Phil Jackson clocks 76 years old today.
The NBA basketball coaching icon made his mark coaching more than he did playing the game. His exploits are made for the books, his love for basketball is contagious and his insane thought process and technical know-how for the game of basketball is next to none.
Phil Jackson through the lenses of success
Phil Jackson, born on September 17th, 1945, in Deer Lodge, Montana, US, was a professional basketball player during his playing days and a head coach much after.
The 6-foot 8-inch power forward was drafted by the New York Knicks in 1969. By the 1973 season, the Zen Master won his first and only NBA championship as a player, averaging 8.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists in the playoff season (17 games played).
In 1985, Jackson made his coaching debut with the Albany Patroons of the Continental Association and he led them to their first championship. After which he went on to become the assistant coach to the Chicago Bulls Doug Collins in 1987. However, Collins was fired in 1989, and Jackson was promoted to take his place as the head coach of the Bulls. He coached the Bulls for nine seasons and won the NBA championship six times from 1991 through to 1993, and then from 1996 to 1998. His success at the Bulls was gravely spectacular. In the 1995-96 season, Jackson and his boys secured a record of 72 wins and 10 losses in a regular NBA season.
After his outstanding spell with the Bulls, Jackson took a break from basketball and returned for the 2000 season as the head coach of the LA Lakers. He led them to five championship titles (2000, 2001 and 2002 consecutively, with a fourth and fifth in 2009 and 2010 respectively).
The Hall of Famer is the most celebrated NBA coach of all time, as he holds the record for the most number of championship titles won as a coach (11 championships). He is the fastest coach in the history of the game to attain 900 wins.