Phil Jackson: How Michael Jordan and Steve Kerr Came to Blows

by Blue Shorts
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Phil Jackson of the 1972 - 1973 Championship New York Knicks team during a ceremony at halftime honoring the 40th anniversary of the team's victory in the NBA Finals on April 5, 2013 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Credit: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Phil Jackson of the 1972 – 1973 Championship New York Knicks team during a ceremony at halftime honoring the 40th anniversary of the team’s victory in the NBA Finals on April 5, 2013 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Credit: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) - The Junkies were privileged to be joined by living legend Phil Jackson Thursday, a 13-time NBA Champion, and the most successful head coach in league history with more rings than fingers.

Jackson, promoting the release of his aptly titled new book, “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success,” gave unparalleled insight into getting the best out of the two greatest competitors the game has ever known: Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan.

It would be unlike the Junkies not to ask the most successful coach in NBA history who he’d have take the final shot, on a hypothetical championship roster consisting of both Bryant and Jordan, given the chance, so of course they did.

Known for his unfiltered interviews, the Zen Master walked the Junks right up to the line of a clear-cut response, tempting them to draw their own conclusions.

“I’ve drawn up the same exact play for the same people; for those two people,” Jackson teased.

“Kobe’s going to be a little bit different. He’s probably going to take a shot that’s going to be of any type; take a shot that could be a fallback 25-footer wherever,” he continued. “Michael’s probably going to get himself in a position to shoot a shot that’s probably a little higher-percentage shot. Kobe can still make those shots. Michael’s going to get a better percentage shot.”

Related: Steve Kerr Says MJ’s Better Than LeBron

You don’t earn a nickname like ‘Zen Master’ without understanding how to motivate players, so it was captivating to hear Jackson describe using a contentious moment between Steve Kerr and Jordan to establish a greater sense of team with the Bulls, in a seminal moment for two teammates that would win five titles together.

“There’s this incident that occurs with Michael Jordan and Steve Kerr on a basketball practice floor, where there’s a little tension between them, and eventually Michael reacts to it and hits Steve,” Jackson said. “And at that point there’s a turning point for this team.”

“They go through this kind of shocking process where, Steve Kerr’s 6’3” 170 pounds, you know, Michael Jordan’s 6’6” 210,” he continued. “He outweighs him by 40 pounds, and it’s not a fair fight at all, but there’s just this tension that was going on that was built between ‘Are you going to join us and play at our level or are we going to have to come and serve your level of play?’

“And I think that it was the point in which this connection was made, in which the players understood that we have to care more about each other than just our own careers or how we’re doing. This is more about our team.”

This is incredible.

“Eleven Rings” is in stores now, if you feel motivated to make the purchase.

There’s more. Oh, there’s just so much more.

Listen to the full interview below. Follow 106.7 The Fan on Twitter.

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