Skip to content

NBA Playoffs Suns Lakers Game 1: It's in the league's best interest to reel Phil Jackson in

May 15, 2010, 9:47 AM EDT

Thumbnail image for NBA_philjackson.jpgIt seems like a fun little sideshow, doesn’t it? The grizzled veteran coach, waxing basketball philosophic and occasionally using his razor-sharp wit to jab at other players and the officials. A basketball legend using the media to gain as much leverage over the calls as he can get. It’s a charming story.

And it’s got to stop.

Yesterday, we clued you in to Phil Jackson’s latest dig at officiating related to Steve Nash and his penchant for “carrying.” It’s yet another in a long history of Jackson swinging out in officiating-related matters.

There’s been a lot of talk about increasing the punishment for coaches that complain about officiating. David Stern spoke about possibly suspensions, a notion Jackson laughed off while calling the commissioner by his first name. And yesterday’s little dig shows that he doesn’t actually think Stern will go far enough to lean on him. It’s a small, careful, and quiet comment that Stern can’t really punish him beyond fines which amount to asking someone for whatever they’ve got in their pockets.

If Stern’s serious about this, if he wants to make the point that coaches cannot, under any circumstances, attempt to influence officiating in any way, the next time Jackson speaks out, he’s got to suspend him. Especially if it happens in the next two weeks.

Bear in mind that this is a crucial time for the league’s public officiating situation. Tim Donaghy is still flitting around like a hobo trying to ask anyone outside the league’s office for money in exchange for his windshield wipers of allegations. But there have been no officiating disasters in the playoffs this year, unlike the Mavericks no-call among others last year. The league has a real chance to get past the lingering outside perception that certain officiating wrinkles are influenced by league folds.

But a mess in a series against the Suns from the most winningest franchise in NBA history?

That would be unfortunate timing.

The league already flinches every time the Robert Horry hipcheck and subsequent suspensions are shown. They flinch whenever discussion of the 2002 Game 6 are brought up. They flinch whenever Tim Donaghy’s involvement in both of those series are brought up. They don’t waver, but they flinch.

Ensuring that we don’t end up in a situation where the Lakers look like the favored son, where there’s no chance of Jackson successfully bending the officials knees to his liking, that’s a sound strategy to end the controversy. Allowing Jackson to flaunt whatever influence he wants is a flawed approach. The carrying issue is nothing, it’s a blip on the radar. But the league needs to be ready to suspend Phil Jackson, in a playoff series, if he seeks to influence the officiating again, even if he’s right.

The Lakers are more than capable of dismantling the Suns based solely on their basketball ability and length. Making sure there’s no funny business is a win-win for the league.

The questions about the league’s officiating history are on the ropes, dazed, and stunned. Phil Jackson is unknowingly, or unconcernedly slipping them Gatorade. It’s time for the Commissioner’s office to knock them out.

106 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. a in pa - May 15, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    David Stern needs to get a clue… this whole idea of clamping down on coaches/players that make “disparaging” remarks about calls/non calls is ridiculous. If you want to be a douche, by all means fine them; if you want to look like some sort of iron fisted mind control ASS MASTER, suspend them. If anything, these comments are more about getting in the heads of the players than the refs.
    If Phil Jackson gets suspended, during the WCF or Finals for “speaking out” about “officiating”, I will go so f-ing bat sh-t crazy, my wife might actually ban me to the basement. KEEP TALKIN’ PHIL!

  2. David C - May 15, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    When I saw this story last night I thought a 250k fine would be appropriate. Why does Jackson get away with things Cuban didn’t?

  3. DanT - May 15, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    get em phil!!! The ZEN MASTER ROCKS!!!!

  4. No Moore, Please - May 15, 2010 at 3:04 PM

    What a sad joke of an article. Looks like somebody wants the Suns to win, by any means necessary.
    Suspending a coach DURING THE PLAYOFFS for expressing his opinion would be tantamount to the worst call by an NBA ref in history.
    This is your plan for renewing faith in NBA officiating? If Jackson were to be suspended for a game, and the Suns won the series, do you think fans would say “oh, well, thank gosh the officiating was fair!” or might they say, “Wow! the whole damn playoffs is fixed, and Stern is the most corrupt ref of all!”
    GREAT ARTICLE MATT! You’re obviously one of the great thinkers of our time.

  5. Mica - May 15, 2010 at 3:05 PM

    yet & still…..
    does or does not Steve Nash carry?

  6. Anonymous - May 15, 2010 at 3:11 PM

    Ahh racism rears it’s ugly head again Mamba. Too bad it comes in all colors. Try to stay on track and leave your cracker hating out of it.

  7. DK Anderson - May 15, 2010 at 3:12 PM

    Oh, I’m sure that the pure and saintly Zen Master Jackson is only making these comments for the greater good of the game of basketball, and NEVER for the nefarious purpose of gaining a not-earned-on-the-floor advantage in the WCF…
    /rolleyes

  8. Derrick - May 15, 2010 at 3:12 PM

    I thought the “No Fun League” was the NFL. What’s wrong with Phil talking a little as long as he isn’t directly commenting on a game that his team was involved in. Lighten up a little. It’s not the end of the world.

  9. Nemesis - May 15, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    who cares WHY he’s making the statement.
    what is important? the statement is true.period.

  10. Richi - May 15, 2010 at 3:54 PM

    @Randy
    Your comment is so damn stupid!

  11. vion2 - May 15, 2010 at 3:58 PM

    The author sounds like a Nazi SS officer: “Who dares to challenge Hitler (Stern in this case)?” If Steve carries the ball more than others, then Jackson is right. If he does not, then Jackson needs to be quiet. But the author did not spend one sentence on this key point. How did he reach the conclusion that Jackson needs to be quiet? By a logical fallacy called “appeal to authority”. But authority needs to be examined just like everyone else does.

  12. glmus - May 15, 2010 at 4:06 PM

    Lighten up. Phil adds spice to the game. Better to tune up the refs before the game than get a T during the game. He is simply funning. Stern should keep his mouth shut about this stuff. If he fines Phil, there are a bunch more like Jerry Sloan who will have to pay up.

  13. Kevin - May 15, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    Just say the one with the rings KNOW what to do.You don’t just wake up knowing your going to get championships…THAT’S WHY YOU PLAY TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.
    Lebron remember what Phil and Michael went thru before they got those championships.GET YOU A CENTER THAT CAN PLAY BASKETBALL and RUN.

  14. nresq - May 15, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    Geez, dude, let it go! That was years ago. By the way, the little boy you slept with last week wants to know what you’re doing this weekend!

  15. Janet Jorgensen - May 15, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    I’ll put Steve’s reputation up against Kobe any day of the week!

  16. SAGG - May 15, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    Phil’s earned the right to complain, with those ten rings, as far as I’m concerned. Get that edge, Phil!

  17. PostUp - May 15, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    Moore has missed the entire point of PJ’s little jab at Nash. Phil is trying to mess with Steve Nash’s head not the ref’s calls. Kevin Durant got in a tiny war of words with Phil Jackson before the Lakers/Thunder series and PJ is hoping to have the same effect on Nash. The officials are not going to call Nash for carrying in a crucial situation in the playoffs but if Phil Jackson can create even the tiniest bit of doubt in Nash’s mind or the tiniest distraction then he will have done his Zen Master job. Moore I know it is hard to create content on the weekend when you don’t have ESPN’s blog to copy off of but please try to at least make the Right point.

  18. Toni - May 15, 2010 at 5:08 PM

    Dear Matt,
    Good grief…u’ve got to be kidding me with this article. Suspend Phil Jackson?? For what?? Pointing out what a coach is supposed to?? This is what WINNERS DO. Maybe you should consider writing on a different topic, one that makes sense; one that is going to help us – The Lakers – win!! This article is simply wack!!

  19. not a laker fan - May 15, 2010 at 5:43 PM

    Excuse me, but didn’t Phil comment on Steve Nash, not an offical or the officiating of any game yet to be played in this series? It may imply that Nash gets away with the carry and therefore is gettgin teh benefit of the doubt with some officials somewhere, but there is no way that is tied to only the officals in the upcoming series, unless you have a really really overactive imagination or either you are really bored, both of which must be the case for this piece of nonsense to be posted as an article. What a joke. Hard to tell what is worse, the officiating in the NBA or the writing on this site. Is NBCSports so strapped for funds that they are just letting people write who will do it for free? Surely they aren’t paying for this type of nonsense!

  20. FDJLakers - May 15, 2010 at 5:49 PM

    It is the job of the coach to stand up for his players! The job of the players is to play and live with decisions that are made on the court, whether they like them or not. It is the job of the coach to intervene on behalf of the players!
    To hear a player complain about officiating is to hear a whiner. But to hear a coach complain is to hear someone whose position it is to speak out against dumb calls or one-sided calls. If the coach goes too far, the fans on both sides will know he is a whiner. There’s no need for any penalty whatsoever.
    Matt, you’re attituded is being affected too much by the current Democratic Congress and Administration: You’d better not complain about policies (or officiating) or you will be branded a terrible person, fined, or suspended! Your comment, “….even if he’s right…” makes me just shake my head in disbelief!

  21. FDJLakers - May 15, 2010 at 5:57 PM

    Some typos corrected and another thought added:
    It is the job of the coach to stand up for his players! The job of the players is to play and live with decisions that are made on the court, whether they like them or not. It is the job of the coach to intervene on behalf of the players!
    To hear a player complain about officiating is to hear a whiner. But to hear a coach complain is to hear someone whose position it is to speak out against dumb calls or one-sided calls. (Remember how Sacramento got ripped off in the playoffs against my Lakers, due to corrupt refs???) If the coach goes too far, the fans on both sides will know he is a whiner. There’s no need for any penalty whatsoever.
    Matt, you’re attitude is being affected too much by the current Democratic Congress and Administration: You’d better not complain about policies (or officiating) or you will be branded a terrible person, fined, or suspended! Your comment, “….even if he’s right…” makes me just shake my head in disbelief!
    I of course want to see the Lakers win against Phoenix, but not at the expense of bad officiating that goes ignored by either coach! So if the refs do a bad job against Phoenix at the Staples Center, I hope the Phoenix coaching staff speaks up! And I hope Mr. Stern listens to either coaching staff, rather than try to silence them and pretend the officiating is beyond reproach!

  22. FDJLakers - May 15, 2010 at 6:00 PM

    Another dumb typo: “Matt, you’re…” should be, “Matt, your…”
    -Sorry

  23. zonashadow - May 15, 2010 at 6:01 PM

    Can not wait till that rapist Laker Kobe cries on national TV when he loses to Nash and Company. Ha ha!!!

  24. FDJLakers - May 15, 2010 at 6:05 PM

    PostUp, thanks for making me crack up with your comment, “Moore I know it is hard to create content on the weekend when you don’t have ESPN’s blog to copy off of but please try to at least make the Right point.”
    That was good…..and funny!

  25. PC - May 15, 2010 at 6:11 PM

    Hey Moore..(or should I say LESS?), SHUT THE HELL UP! Phil Jackson didn’t win BAZILLIONS of CHAMPIONSHIPS listening to DWEEBS like YOU! Oh..and..GO LAKERS!!

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Why can't Lakers have a player-coach?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. T. Warren (4599)
  2. K. Love (4504)
  3. L. James (4484)
  4. J. Nelson (3766)
  5. R. Allen (3673)
  1. D. Rose (3147)
  2. C. Anthony (3123)
  3. K. Bryant (3002)
  4. A. Wiggins (2720)
  5. C. Boozer (2248)