Nine-time NBA Champion coach Phil Jackson knows all about being in the spotlightabout high-profile, high-pressure seasons coaching gigantic personalities through adversity and controversy in the middle of a media hothouse in which every move is another headline, another installment in the soap opera. But nothingnot six championships with the Bulls of Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen, not three previous championships with the Lakers of Shaq and Kobehad quite prepared him for the only-in-Hollywood high-wire act of the Lakers 2003-2004 season.
In The Last Season: A Team In Search of Its Soul, Jackson tells the full inside story of the season that proved to be the final ride of this great Lakers dynasty. From its beginnings in the off-seasonwith the signing of the future Hall-of-Famers Karl Malone and Gary Payton and the enormous expectations it created, and the bombshell news of the felony sexual-assault charges against Kobe Bryant, one of the leagues marquee superstarsJackson describes the many challenges that arose during this turbulent season. Juggling enormous egos with enormous sums at stake, managing difficult relationships and public feuds, facing injuries, contract disputes, and team meltdowns, all in the shadow of the Kobe Bryant trial-slash-media circus, Phil Jackson somehow guided his team through to its 4 NBA Finals in his five years as its coach. There, finally, his team ran out of road, a failure Jackson examines with the same deep honesty and wisdom he brings to bear on the rest of this amazing season.
Few seasons in memory can rival this one for drama, and fewer coaches rival Phil Jackson in the ability to write about it with such wisdom and clarity. The combination has produced, in The Last Season, a book of tremendous human drama and timeless appeal, rich in lessons about coaching and about life.