The story of how the Lakers lost their way, lost their chance at a place in history, is ultimately a story of how two of the great winners in the NBA lost their ability to control the team.
It’s why Phil Jackson was swept out of the playoffs for the first time instead of adding to his collection of 11 coaching championship rings. It’s why Kobe Bryant, the Most Valuable Player of the past two NBA Finals, couldn’t lead his team back to the championship round. It’s why the unusually early playoff exit and start of retirement couldn’t come fast enough for Jackson, who admitted it felt “really good to be ending this season, to be honest with you.”
“This team just had an ability to get in a funk and not be able to heal and surge, to find that common thread to come back and turn things around,” Jackson said Wednesday in his final address to the media as coach of the Lakers. “And I never really had a team like that, that couldn’t make adjustments and learn from mistakes.”
View a funny Kobe Bryant impersonation video!