Phil Jackson has won 13 championships, 11 of them coming while he served as the head coach for Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
The Zen Master, as Phil was affectionately called by his players, was one of the best examples of hands-off coaching. He would run a system that would generate open looks and sustained touches for players across the roster.
But he’d also make accommodations to cater to his scoring stars’ affinity for the ball. That was the main reason why he was able to gel so well with 2 of the greatest iso scorers of all time.
Both Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan preferred Phil Jackson to any of the other coaches they trained under. They swore by his philosophy of practice sessions as well.
Jackson advocated high-intensity practice games within the squad that could get nastier than real games. Physicality of all sorts would be allowed, and this opened up the scope for Michael and Kobe to simulate their own end-of-clock shots.
Phil Jackson explains the differences between Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan
Jackson has been endlessly asked about how the experience of coaching Michael Jordan anad Kobe Bryant. How the two were similar, and how they differed in their approach to bettering their play.
Phil was asked the same question once again during a visit to Salt Lake City a few years ago. Jackson opened up a bit more than usual, sharing how Kobe could sometimes be a little hard to coach:
“There was something coachable about Michael that Kobe didn’t have. But Kobe had an irrepressible fire. The reason Kobe was unhappy with Shaq (O’Neal) was (because of) his drive. Kobe believed Shaq didn’t care enough about the game.”