The Basketball Gods

Further to the concept of “Deserving to Win“, i thought this excerpt from Phil Jackson’s book, The Last Season: A Team in Search of its soul explored a similar theme. The book was a series of journal entries Jackson kept during the 2003-2004 NBA season with the LA Lakers. The season was Jackson’s last of his first stint with the Lakers after they had won the first three-peat. It would also be Shaquille O’Neal’s last season with the team and the year Kobe Bryant was embroiled in a sexual assault court case.

After some disappointing losses, Jackson recounts an open team meeting he had with the team and coaches, and the words of one of his assistants:

But it was Frank who really seized everyone’s attention. “You all know what to do as players, ” he said. “Yet you punked out last night. We made a pact in training camp not to take shortcuts, to pay attention to the basketball gods. Shaq, it isn’t right that you missed practice, and Kobe, it isn’t right that you were late today. We just need to quit feeling sorry for ourselves, and go out and play ball. You know what’s really pathetic? Jannero Pargo was released [cut from the team] yesterday. He came to play every day and he paid his dues to the basketball gods.” By the “basketball gods,” Frank was referring to the game’s irrefutable principles: Hit the open man. Help each other out on defense. Box your man out. Play inside the system. Don’t break off plays. Don’t force the action if you’re being doubled. Etc. etc. Unfortunately the players I’ve coached in Los Angeles have never adhered to those principles the way the players did in Chicago.

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One Response to “The Basketball Gods”

  1. Facts please Says:

    What a great blog Huy

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