Hall of Famer Jackson says luck was involved

From the Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Phil Jackson learned to coach from Red Holzman, and he practiced the craft on superstars Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.

“I’ve had people say that I’m the luckiest coach that’s ever been in the NBA. I probably have to agree with that,” Jackson said Friday at the Basketball Hall of Fame’s induction weekend. “I’ve been in the right spots at the right time.”

Jackson was inducted into the Springfield shrine on Friday night along with North Carolina Coach Roy Williams; the 1966 NCAA champion Texas Western team; four-time WNBA championship coach Van Chancellor, the longtime women’s coach at Mississippi recently hired by Louisiana State; former NBA referee Mendy Rudolph; and international coaches Pedro Ferrandiz of Spain and Mirko Novosel of Yugoslavia.

Former USA Today, Chicago Tribune and New York Times writer Malcolm Moran and longtime Phoenix Suns broadcaster Al McCoy were honored with the Curt Gowdy Media Award.


Veteran center Dikembe Mutombo was the first recipient of the Mannie Jackson Basketball’s Human Spirit Award, named for the Harlem Globetrotters chairman.

Noting that Kevin Garnett was traded from Minnesota to Boston by ex-Celtics star Kevin McHale, now the basketball boss of the Timberwolves, Jackson lamented that the old Celtics network kept the Lakers from improving their team this summer.

“We lost out on the Kevin Garnett sweepstakes,” Jackson joked. “Red Auerbach came out of the grave and told Kevin to give him to the Celtics so the Celtics can get back in the running.”