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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. PC - May 15, 2010 at 6:14 PM

    I hope “Crying Kobe” BUTT F^&%$ YOU on National TV…LOSER!

  2. Notorious - May 15, 2010 at 6:46 PM

    haha! Lakers suck huh? I didn’t see the Suns at the top of the Western Conference standings. Just another hater is all you are. I can’t wait for the Suns to go down in six. You’ll be crying like the b**** that you are!
    By the way Einstein, “Kobe is TO old” should be “Kobe is TOO old”. Now I can see why your dumb azz is a Suns fan!!

  3. Bruce - May 15, 2010 at 6:53 PM

    Randy Randy Randy, get over it dude. The chick was just lookin to make a buck. If she was really wronged, if she was really raped, she would have gone through with the rest of the trial and had Kobe convicted. She would have received her justice. But she was apparently just another money-grubbing whore. And for some reason, you want to keep the fight alive. Kobe has all his promotional contracts back, he’s reading books to young children in schools, he’s the feature story in magazines. He’s back on top. Move on buddy, quit being a Kobe-hater. Be a LeBron hater instead if you really need to hate somebody…his flame has obviously burned out this season…the Queen is dead. But Kobe is very much alive and kicking and still earning tons of adoring fans.

  4. DougTucson - May 15, 2010 at 7:06 PM

    Let’s stick with the topic. Phil Jackson should be suspended for saying that he thinks a player carries the ball? You cannot be serious. Whether it’s true or not, and it is, it’s part of the wonderful fizz that surrounds all important games. Grow up.

  5. me too - May 15, 2010 at 7:44 PM

    Obviously you are of the same school of thought as Kobe. As long as it’s me wanting it, no means yes.

  6. Ken - May 15, 2010 at 8:10 PM

    Is Matt Moore still writing? FIRE HIM!!!!! Until hs starts reporting on facts he should be censored……what an idiot!!!!

  7. Basketball_Integrity - May 15, 2010 at 8:28 PM

    Matt, nice try. We all know that you like most I presume gamblers have some huge bet going on against the lakers, and you want to get every advantage you can get (for your team. Your attempt to cloak and distort the deliberate substandard officiating of most of the NBA refs is fake and superficial.
    Everyone knows by now just by watching the last series especially when Derek Fisher was pulled and thrown to the canvas and miss the throw in by Artest. David stern know this as well. The league is interested in money and will do everything it could here or there to influence outcomes a certain percentage of the time as we all witness from time to time.
    Now, for going on a tangent and suggesting that phil should be suspended is INSANE!

  8. Anonymous - May 15, 2010 at 9:33 PM

    Where do you morons come from? Can you go back there and climb back in bed with your sister and leave the rest of us alone?

  9. ozzie - May 15, 2010 at 10:36 PM

    Stern looked the other way when Jackson called Rick Adelman Hitler. Why would he do something different now?

  10. IrieLakergirl - May 15, 2010 at 11:39 PM

    Matt, your article is interesting however,I don’t see why everyone is picking on Lakers. Lakers pulls the largest fans where ever we play. It seems that you are a PHX fan and would like Phil to get suspended so that PHX can take advantage. Well, that would only give Lakers the extra push to take care of business.
    Response to Ryan: You shouldn’t try and tell everyone what you are; we can see you don’t have what it takes and need a life. I suppose you were smelling yourself when you farted and that’s what gave you the idea to call Phil and Kobe those names.
    It’s about time Stern steps down and stop trying to be a dictator in the NBA because the fans will not have it. Mr. Stern please do the right thing and allow the refs to correc their mistakes especially the last two minutes of the game. It takes a man to say they are sorry.

  11. Gary - May 15, 2010 at 11:47 PM

    I am also a Blazer fan and remember Jake ODonnell quite well.
    To be honest I think Jake had it in for the Blazers way before Clyde became a Blazer. It was a very happy day for all Blazer fans when Jake ODonnel finally got his come-uppins and lost his job, when he blantantly attacked Clyde when he was a Houston Rocket in the NBA finals. He finally got caught doing what he always did to Clyde, and for that matter the Blazers. He simply didn’t like us, period.
    To be honest, there isn’t a single NBA fan out there that doesn’t think the refs treat the Lakers like they are untouchable. If you lived in anywhere else but Los Angeles, you would feel the same way.

  12. HAnk - May 15, 2010 at 11:47 PM

    lakers suck, stern sucks, lebron sucks, go suns.

  13. Gary - May 16, 2010 at 12:07 AM

    I know – let’s take a vote.
    How many NBA fans hate the Lakers?
    No really – how many of us, deep in our hearts, hate seeing them in the finals, year after year?
    Why do we hate them? I can think of many reasons (I’ve disliked them for a long time). But mostly it’s because Magic Johnsen knew how to play the refs like a fiddle. Someone else is playing the fiddle now, and this time it’s the coach.

  14. Jamie - May 16, 2010 at 12:22 AM

    The 1st amendment concerns the GOVERNMENT censoring citizens. The commissioner of the NBA censoring an NBA coach hasn’t a thing to do with the 1st amendment. I appreciate where you’re coming from, but the NBA is a private enterprise and its employees, such as the coaches in question, are under contracts which limit speech under penalty of forfeiture of pay. The government and constitution have absolutely nothing to do with it.

  15. PeteRocks - May 16, 2010 at 2:04 AM

    Hate the lakers and kobe. kobe will never be half as great as mike.
    The Suns should put a row of white teenage girls in school unitforms in the front row. Kobe won’t be able to take his eyes off them……lol

  16. PBS - May 16, 2010 at 3:29 AM

    Ugh, just look at who wrote this article. It’s Matt Moore of HP. Of course he’s going to write something unfavorable against the Lakers any time he writes something about the Lakers.
    And PeteRocks’s brain is full of rocks. Anyone who doesn’t appreciate Kobe’s mastery and dedication to the game is a deluded hater. Hate the Lakers fine. It’s understandable. But to dismiss Kobe’s accomplishments just shows the narrowmindness sports fans have over the game. Hate the team, but not the players. Players work hard to accomplish their skills. Even if their attitude or personality isn’t what you like, admitting that a player is talented / skilled is the first step to being a great sports fan.

  17. Michael - May 16, 2010 at 6:55 AM

    The author of this article wants to single out an individual for expressing their opinion on officiating – and have them banned? Literally banned from a playoff game in the WCF no less? This argument is highly flawed and reeks of bias.

  18. harlemhutch hutch - May 16, 2010 at 7:34 AM

    It’s high time the phony lakers were taken to task. Phil Jackson is a big mouth who isn’t really all that good a coach. He couldn’t wear Arnold’s jock strap. The same with the laker team. Phony. When the big bad wolves come in from BOSTON, then we shall separate the men from the boys. 2008 sound

  19. Anonymous - May 16, 2010 at 8:42 AM

    You think Stern would actually suspend Phil Jackson? Are you kidding me? He WANTS the Lakers in the Finals. (Remember 2002 Lakers-Kings anyone?) Donaghy was only the fall guy for that. Suns have zero chance of winning this series. Sorry folks…

  20. Omnius - May 16, 2010 at 10:00 AM

    The only one who needs to be stopped from talking is the idiot author Matt Moore! What a piece of garbage this article is. Phil Jackson has every right to talk about the games and how they’re reffed, which tends to be poorly. Besides Phil’s comments are always amusing and right on the money. Lakers will set arizona’s Suns in 5 games and then go on to win another championship.

  21. Lakers4Lyfe - May 16, 2010 at 11:28 AM

    lol if 31 is old to you, then Nash and Grant Hill must be near death. Don’t be skered. It’s OK SunsFan. The cheating refs will try to save you, but it won’t be enough.

  22. Ronald Pierre - May 16, 2010 at 12:48 PM

    Obviously the person who wrote the article is a Phil Jackson hater
    Jerry Sloan has been doing the same thing since Malone and Stockton
    nobody ever said anything

  23. Lifelong Laker Fan - May 16, 2010 at 12:53 PM

    sounds like transference, you must be at least a little effeminate.

  24. CG - May 16, 2010 at 12:58 PM

    Lakers – “the most winningest franchise in NBA history”?
    Last time I checked the Celtics have 17 titles to the Lakers 15. Would have to look up total game wins but I would venture that the Celtics are tops in this category also.

  25. Ronald Pierre - May 16, 2010 at 12:58 PM

    do you really know anything about basketball,to me you sound ignorant

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