Phil Jackson talked about his short retirement, basketball in New York, his critics and, most importantly, the state of the NBA, in an interview with Bleacher Report.

Phil Jackson Criticizes Modern Basketball

“The game actually has some beauty to it, and we’ve kind of taken some of that out of it to make it individualized,” Jackson said. “It’s a lot of who we are as a country, individualized stuff.”

“When I watch some of these playoff games, and I look at what’s being run out there, as what people call an offense, it’s really quite remarkable to see how far our game has fallen from a team game. Four guys stand around watching one guy dribble a basketball.”

Phil Jackson Criticizes LeBron James

“I watch LeBron James, for example,” Jackson continued. “He might [travel] every other time he catches the basketball if he’s off the ball. He catches the ball, moves both his feet. You see it happen all the time. There’s no structure, there’s no discipline, there’s no ‘How do we play this game’ type of attitude. And it goes all the way through the game. To the point where now guys don’t screen — they push guys off with their hands.”


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It is fairly easy to blow this article way out of proportion, especially with his singling out of LeBron James. Still, in one way Jackson has a point: the game largely has gotten away from team play, focusing on players shooting the ball 30-35 times a game. At the same time, the last two champions epitomize what Jackson yearns for. Both the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors have key players, but play fundamental team basketball thanks to strong coaching by Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich.

On top of this, LeBron is not really known as the selfish type: he just had to take on that role due to the injuries of Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. As for his criticisms about players traveling, the game has shied away from enforcing these rules long before LeBron: so it seems Jackson is only picking on the number one player in the world because he is the face of basketball. Still, this emergence of the superstar mentality is far from anything new: he coached both Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, so he should know this by now.

Still, the man has 13 championship rings, so he obviously knows what he is doing and talking about. So this interview might have just been him venting about the current state of the game, which got blown out of proportion by the mentioning of James.

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