Today is the 67th birthday of Phil Jackson, a player and coach whose NBA future is up for debate but whose legacy as a winner is more bulletproof than Kevlar. Like a basketball version of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, his 11 coaching championships with the Bulls and Lakers can be traced all back to his two, foundational solutions to his coaching koan. Thanks to YouTube, here’s Jackson explaining both of them.
First is Tex Winter‘s triangle, of course. The key that unlocked six NBA titles in Chicago gets broken down by Winter and P-Jax on the hilariously named “Know Bull” segment with B.J. Armstrong. You’d have to be completely naive to believe Jackson and Winter are spilling all the secrets to the offense here, but it’s a pretty good primer to the magic system.
Now that you’ve seen Phil and friends break down the triangle, there’s a chance you’re thinking that looks pretty easy. So what turned those angles and 15-foot spacing into 11 titles? Jackson’s Buddhist philosophy, of course. The incense burning, the Zen meditation and the mantras are all in here.