Jackson Tests His Players


On most teams, if the coach tells his players he wants them to take a written test, they brush up on the pick-and-roll, zone defenses and the fine points of an in-bounds play.

But the Lakers are not most teams and Phil Jackson is not like most coaches.

So it is not surprising that the written exam he has required all his players to take has more to do with the game of life than the game of basketball.

It includes the social atom in which the player is asked to put himself at the center of the Laker universe and then draw in where all the players are in relation to him.


There are questions such as what is your greatest fear, what is most important to you, how would you change yourself if you could, what is your least favorite physical characteristic and who are your favorite authors.

With the exams completed, Jackson has begun to meet individually with the players to go over the answers. Each meeting lasts between 60 and 90 minutes.

“I think it’s cool,” forward Mark Madsen said. “In so many cases, you have a coach and you never really get to know each other. It’s great that he is taking the time.”

Although the players are supposed to keep their answers confidential, Madsen, a Stanford graduate with an economics degree, revealed that his favorite authors are Fyodor Dostoevsky and John Steinbeck.

Now there’s a pair of names rarely mentioned around the NBA.


Kobe Bryant has a slightly sprained left thumb which is not expected to affect his playing time in tonight’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

It is believed Bryant, who had the thumb bandaged for practice Monday, was injured in Sunday’s game against the New York Knicks when Latrell Sprewell reached in on a steal attempt.



The secret is finally out. Now we know why Shaquille O’Neal has a sore big toe on his right foot.

He inadvertently brought two left shoes with him on this trip.


at Milwaukee, 5 PST

Channel 9, TBS

Site--Bradley Center.

Radio--KLAC (570).

Records--Lakers 38-16, Bucks 32-22.

Record vs. Bucks--1-0.

Update--The Bucks may be leading the Central Division, but in the NBA, even winning doesn’t guarantee harmony. Forward Glenn Robinson is so furious with his coach that he says he wants out of Milwaukee if George Karl continues to use him as he did last Friday. Robinson played 25 minutes, but sat out the last 6:46, because, Karl said, he liked the way the five he had on the floor were performing.