Last Season Hardcover – Oct 21 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Jacksons chronicle of his final season as the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers moves as crisply as a well-executed fast break. Under his direction, the Lakers won three NBA titles, but failed to reach the championship round in 2003. Determined to make another run at the finals in the 20032004 season, the Lakers added Hall of Fame players Karl Malone and Gary Payton to a team that already featured superstars Shaquille ONeal and Kobe Bryant. But instead of producing another ring, the Lakers were crushed in the finals by the Detroit Pistons. That the Lakers even reached the last round of the playoffs was a feat given the turmoil that surrounded the team (involving the animosity between Shaq and Bryant, and Bryants rape charge). Jackson briefly critiques the Lakers biggest games of the regular season and analyzes each playoff performance, providing fresh insight without boring readers with play-by-play accounts. He peppers the narrative with pungent observations of his starsand its no surprise that he saves his sharpest criticisms for Bryant. While Shaq could be difficult to deal with, Jackson contends, he was ultimately a team player. And although Shaq and Bryant reached a truce in the seasons final months, Jackson sees Bryant as the epitome of todays selfish player, a "callous gun for hire."
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About the Author
Phil Jackson is one of the greatest coaches in the history of the NBA. In his fourteen seasons as a head coach, he is 832-316, the best winning record in NBA history. He also holds NBA coaching records for most playoff wins and playoff winning percentage. Prior to coaching, he played thirteen years in the NBA, primarily with the New York Knicks. He is also the author of Maverick, Sacred Hoops, and, with his friend Charley Rosen, More Than a Game.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
By the way, I'm a big Kobe fan and the negative things said about him are overblown in reviews/excerpts of the book.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Phil opens up on the behind the scenes squabbles, pettiness and egos so large they simply defy explanation. In one example, Kobe Bryant is offered the use of a plane by the Lakers to make his trips back to a Colorado courtroom for his alleged rape trial, and instead of being grateful for the support his team is giving him financially, is mad because he thought he deserved a bigger plane.
The book is full of the insights into the battles between Kobe and Shaq. Imagine two first graders with 100 million dollars each and you start to get close to the level of professionalism and emotional maturity. It is often funny, often sad, and usually just shocking.
The book is written very well, a breeze to read through, and a fascinating tale of psychological narcissism gone wild. I recommend highly for fans of the NBA, or just anyone who is interested in team dynamics. It will also explain why the Lakers got beat so easily by a team with far less talent. A lesson to leaders in organizations everywhere.
Former Coach Phil Jackson let's loose both barrels squarely aimed at troubled star Kobe Bryant.
He details the pettiness involved in the constant battles with Shaq and Kobe. About how Kobe complained about the quality of the jet which flew Kobe from his courtroom appearances in Colorado back to LA.
Phil documents how he had wanted to trade Kobe as long ago as the 2000 season but was denied by Lakers Owner Jerry Buss, in whose eyes Kobe can do no wrong.
Phil documents how he comlained to GM Mitch Kupchack that he could no longer coach Kobe but his hands were tied and it was at that point that Phil knew he would not return for the 2004-2005 season.
Ultimately the house of cards came crumbling down in the NBA finals against the Detroit Pistons. Another person argued that the Pistons were not as talented...a fact that I whole-heartedly disagree with.
The Lakers certainly had the two best players...but the best TEAM was the Pistons. A team that worked harder, and a team with underrated but up and coming stars that was too quick, too resilient for the aging Lakers to deal with.
Quite a read!
I couldn't put the book down. Jackson paints a telling picture of the dysfunctional Lakers and the tactics today's NBA coach must employ to get glorified adulated millionaires to play as a "we" and not and "I." What I like most about Jackson's accounting is that he doesn't seek to use this book as a PR piece for himself but rather as a release of the tremendous pressure he endured and the conflicts that it created within himself.
I found it highly interesting and revealing that this book has had a tremendous backlash from the sports establishment. Obviously, they are afraid this book takes some of the shine off the league. In my estimation though, it gets to the heart of what we find most interesting about pro-sports - the emotions, turmoil and conflicts of humans existing in a surreal environment. Jackson himself remarks that pro-basketball is of little consequence in the bigger picture of life.
Jackson's interactions with Kobe Bryant are fascinating as are his beliefs as to what is at the center of Bryant's own inner conflicts. I've admired Jackson for years for his ability to defy conventionality in order to acheive extraordinary success. The very fact that a book of this nature was actually published again demonstrates his ability to break down long-standing barries/status quos within the NBA establishment.
A must read for die-hard NBA fans.