30 second time outs

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Phil Jackson, the Celtics, and 38-10

Some people claim that Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson, a nine-time National Basketball Association champion, ripped referees for giving Boston a huge free throw edge that helped the Celtics win Sunday.

This is how Phil Jackson's post-game press conference began:

What are you most struck by, your rally at the end or your difficulty scoring points on them the first three quarters?
(Laughing) I'm more struck at the fact that Leon Powe gets more foul shots than our whole team does in 14 minutes of play. That's ridiculous. You can't play from a deficit like that that we had in that half, 19 to 2 in the first half in situations like that. I've never seen a game like that in all these years I've coached in The Finals. Unbelievable. ...

Phil answered a later question with," The referees referee an illusion. Our guys look like the ball was partially stripped when they were getting raked but it was in the crowd so the referees let that type of thing go."

Now I don't think that a professional coach ignoring the disparity of foul calls is an absolute show of sportsmanship Not nearly as much as the "manner" in which those are discussed during an international press conference in which the question is obviously going to be addressed. It might be a bit of a stretch to say that he "ripped the referees." By opening his comments with this quote he took the issue head-on by saying,

"..I think my players got fouled. I have no question about the fact that my players got fouled but didn't get to the line. Specifically I can enumerate a few things, but I'm not going to get into that.

I don't want to get into dispute with those situations..."

So some might say he took the high-road by refusing to discuss specifics. If you were to have heard or read the next sentence after the quote that was just printed, Coach Jackson also went on to say, which the Boston papers chose NOT to print,

"...So we have to create the spacing that gives the right impression, and that will have to get accomplished...."

Jackson taking "responsibility" for his team not having the correct spacing and driving into a crowd, making the officials' job more difficult could be considered the honorable thing to do in a professional setting. He also credited the aggressiveness of the Celtics leading to more trips to the foul line. It didn't appear that he was making the excuse of poor officiating, but rather saying the team needed to execute differently in order to give the officials a better view of the contact.

I think professional coaches are allowed a certain amount of latitude because they are about winning games and entertaining people. So a certain amount of gamesmanship is expected, and I think that Phil chose his words wisely. As evidenced by the lack of a fine by the league office.

I also think that college coaches, and even HS coaches in certain programs, play by slightly different rules than our typical youth sports organization. I might have had 3 or 4 reporters at certain games and many results were above the fold the next morning, with your performance judged by the readership. You're going to be asked the question, so you better have a decent answer if you want it to read well the next day, expect the reporter to be fair in his report, and hope that he comes back next game. So like Our local papers have PrepSports blogs and on the message boards the coaches are open season. when jobs are at stake it changes a bit. We just need to be able to handle all of that within the framework of our principles. That is why it is so important to reach the organizational leaders and parents with our message.

Most coaches would prefer to be Double-Goal Coaches, given permission, the tools, and the opportunity to do so. It is up to the Culture Shapers to provide that opportunity.

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