11-time NBA Finals winner and current Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson plans to retire once and for all following the current season.
In an interview with ESPN's Hannah Storm that will be broadcast Sunday, Jackson said that no matter the outcome of this season--Jackson would complete his fourth three-peat as a coach if the Lakers win the title--he plans to walk away from the game after this year's final buzzer.
Most everybody believes that I won't fulfill this last stand promise and I will come back and coach again, but it really is (it). I want to do this for myself.
Jackson previously resigned from his position as Lakers coach following the team's 2004 loss in the NBA Finals against the Detroit Pistons. The move was seen at the time as an example of GM Mitch Kupchak and owner Jerry Buss bending to Kobe Bryant's will, something that was outright denied by all involved. Nevertheless, Jackson released a book the following fall titled The Last Season which was extremely critical of Bryant, going so far as to describe one of the NBA's biggest stars, a sure-fire Hall of Famer, as uncoachable.
Jackson returned to the Lakers in the summer of 2005 and appeared to mend whatever fractures where in his relationship with Bryant, culminating with three straight trips to the NBA Finals, including consecutive wins in 2009 and 2010.
The Lakers currently possess the second best record in the NBA's Western Conference, but have not looked like the dominant team they have been the last three seasons. Does Jackson see the writing on the wall that the Lakers' run is over? We'll find out more as the second half of the season progresses and the playoffs grow closer. However, NBA fans would do well to try and take in a Lakers game because it could be their last chance to see one of the greatest coaches in history.