Phil Jackson – Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success
Phil Jackson’s new book Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success will be released on Tuesday, May 21st.
Eleven rings will chronicle the most successful coaching career in NBA history, and answer some question that fans and reporters have been asking him for years.
Who was the better player, Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant?
Jordan led his Bulls teams that brought Jackson his first six championships as a coach, whereas Bryant was the centerpiece of the Lakers that helped add 5 more rings to Jackson’s legacy.
Based on some quotes that have emerged so far, it seems that Jackson holds both players in high regard, but considers Jordan to be the player that had it all.
In Eleven Rings The Soul of Success, Jackson cites leadership skills as the biggest difference in the two players.
He mentions Jordan’s ability to control his teammate’s emotions through his powerful personality.
He says that Kobe talked about leadership, but lacked the “cold truth of leadership in his bones’ that Jordan possessed.
In 11 Rings, Jackson goes on to say that Bryant did not interact much with the other players in his earlier years, seeing them more as conduits to provide him with the opportunity to win the game.
This “give me the ball” attitude mellowed later on as Kobe embraced his teammates and started to socialize with them more.
Jackson attributes this to Kobe being so much younger than the other players, having entered the NBA straight out of high school.
Jordan, on the other hand was far more gregarious and charismatic, and enjoyed the camaraderie of the locker room.
Jackson describes how the iconic player would never miss an opportunity to joke around and play cards with the other players.
Jackson also talks of the two player’s physical attributes and styles of play. On their defensive qualities he recalled Jordan’s dominating physical presence, praising him as “a tougher, more intimidating player” with a “laser-focused style of defense”.
He contrasted this with Bryant’s slighter frame that led him to “rely more heavily on his flexibility and craftiness” adding that Kobe “takes a lot of gambles on defense and sometimes pays the price.”
Listen friends of bball; don’t get hung up on words. I was most fortunate to have the chance to coach two of the greatest. EVER MJ/Kobe
— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) May 17, 2013
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) May 17, 2013
Jackson also considers Jordan the more complete player on offense. He compares Jordan’s more composed style with Bryant’s more frantic approach.
He says Jordan would “let the game come to him and not overplay his hand”, whereas Bryant “tends to force the action, especially when the game isn’t going his way”.
Jackson goes on to describe how Jordan’s game was more adaptable if he was having an off night.
He says that Michael would “shift his attention to defense or passing or setting screens” compared to Kobe’s tendency to keep shooting “relentlessly until his luck turns”.
In the Eleven Rings, Jackson also admits that he harbored doubts about Kobe stemming from the sexual assault charges that surrounded the athlete in 2003.
Jackson’s daughter Brooke had suffered a similar assault while in college, and Jackson confesses that “No matter what I did to extinguish it, the anger kept smoldering in the background.”
The excerpts from the upcoming book have sparked a Twitter exchange between the former coach and the Lakers star.
Bryant said that the two players played different roles and the comparison was “apples2oranges”.
Jackson tried to downplay the spat tweeting “don’t get hung up on words” and adding that he was fortunate to coach “two of the greatest…EVER”
Read Phil Jackson’s Eleven Rings
What do you make of the book and Phil Jackson’s words between two of the best players ever?