Back in 2014 when he signed on to run the Knickerbockers, Phil Jackson listed transparency as one of his goals.
When a Gulag operative purposely ignored a reporter trying to ask Jax a question at his introductory press conference, more evidence was offered Jackson was going to work for an organization known for its secrecy and disdain for the media.
Any promise of candor coming out of Jackson’s mouth was pure fantasy. But considering his outspoken history, and the fact James (Guitar Jimmy) Dolan bestowed autonomy on Jackson, there was at least a chance he would be more accessible to the media and could navigate around Dolan’s secret police.
In a twisted kind of way he has. Jackson has snubbed scribes who cover the Knicks on a daily basis, preferring to either run his mouth to national types, like his recent “posse” interview with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, or pontificate on Twitter, or empty the tank to a friend like Charley Rosen in “The Phil Jackson Chronicles,” which sounds a lot like a reality show.
Apparently, the media gag order MSG puts on its executives doesn’t apply to Jackson. The double standard is appropriate.
For no matter how the Knicks are performing, it’s always about the Zen Master. He has shown a unique ability to upstage his own team with his cerebral stylings.
Whether he’s preaching about the Triangle, critiquing a particular style of play, endorsing the hiring of a defensive coordinator, or stirring the pot with LeBron James and his business associate Maverick Carter, who took issue with Jackson telling ESPN: “You (LBJ) can’t hold up the whole team because you and your mom and your posse want to spend an extra night in Cleveland.”
And get this. Jackson’s communication skills run so deep he can even draw Carmelo Anthony into the fray. “I don’t think you have to be a rocket scientist or educated person to know what that (word posse) means to us,” Anthony said.
Anthony’s big mistake here was comparing Jax to a “rocket scientist” or “educated person.” From an intellectual standpoint Jackson, at least in his own mind, is bigger than both. He is a philosopher-king looking down at the unwashed masses, including Anthony, from the highest of mountain tops.
Knicks owner Jim Dolan has avoided much criticism of the team since Jackson took over.
(Frank Franklin II/AP)
To say Anthony and Jackson are not on the same page is an understatement. This is another aspect of Jax’s reality show genius. Only Jackson can alienate Anthony, Dolan’s Star Man, and get away with it. That’s amazing. The fact Jax didn’t verbally reverse field on the “posse” characterization more than indicates he is calling the shots.
If Dolan wanted Jax to apologize “if he offended anyone,” said apology would have already been delivered. Jackson is playing by his own rules. It is not a reach to suggest, Jackson did not consult with the Gulag’s PR operatives before talking to MacMullan. Would anyone be surprised if he didn’t ask anyone “upstairs” for permission to do the interview before agreeing to it?
After all, in the wake of some of the other whacky/controversial things Jackson has said during his Knicks tenure, has there ever been any stories — quoting anonymous sources — indicating Dolan was upset with what Jackson had to say?
No matter what has gone down, or tumbled out of Jackson’s mouth, he is still the ultimate heat shield for Dolan. That’s what is important. While his moves have not translated into even a whiff of the playoffs for the Knicks, Jackson has succeeded at keeping Dolan outside the media’s focus. This alone may be worth the $12 million per Dolan pays Jackson.
And despite all the yapp-flapping over his “posse” reference, Jackson comes out the other end unbowed and unscathed. The media reaction was tepid at best, which included Stephen A. Smith, saying: “Phil Jackson deserves a diminished level of respect.” Doubt Jackson is losing any sleep over that marshmallow critique. Especially with Kristaps Porzingis providing cover with a 35 point performance Wednesday night against Detroit.
There’s another element to consider. While Jackson rarely carries the tablets down from Mt. Me to illuminate boss scribes, he’s a hell of a lot more entertaining than — let’s say — Mike Maccagnan or Jerry Reese. Not only do they rarely come out of their bunkers, when they do meet the press they don’t have much to say.
Nor do they have much personality. Okay, so Jackson’s includes big doses of pomposity and condescension. This is part of his charm, right? Jackson can strike at anytime, no matter the circumstances. His unpredictability, his inability to keep his mouth shut or his Twitter finger frozen, is part of his show. And clearly his idea of transparency.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News