New York Knicks president and former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson supported Red Hot Chilli Peppers bassist Flea in defending Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who was the subject of a controversial article written by ESPN The Magazine's Henry Abbott. The article features sources saying many of Bryant's former teammates didn't want to play with him.
Phil Jackson is ready to defend Kobe Bryant anytime and anywhere.
Jackson, the New York Knicks president, took to social media to support Bryant. Jackson agreed with Red Hot Chilli Peppers bassist Flea's tweet saying an ESPN The Magazine article claiming many of Bryant's former teammates didn't want to play with him "is absolute garbage," per The New York Post's Justin Terranova:
"Red Hot Chilli Peppers guitarist Flea and Knicks president Phil Jackson have formed an unlikely duo in their defense of Kobe Bryant against a scathing ESPN story on the Lakers star.
"Flea is one of the celebrities who flocked to the Staples Center when Jackson was winning championships as coach in Los Angeles, and the two are sticking by Bryant on social media now.
"The ESPN Magazine story pins the beginning of the Lakers' decline to when Jackson departed the franchise in 2011 before resurfacing with the Knicks in a front-office role last season. And it places the blame on Bryant for the Lakers' recent demise -- they have gone from back-to-back champions in 2009 and '10 to what's expected to be one of the worst teams in the league this season.
"Here's a sampling of some of the anti-Bryant quotes from the story:
"'Kobe is like the big rock in their front yard. You can't mow over it, so you just have to mow around it.' -- anonymous agent.
"'I've had a lot of clients in the last five years, good players, who didn't want to play with Kobe. They see that his teammates become the chronic whipping boys. Anyone who could possibly challenge Kobe for the spotlight ends up becoming a pincushion for the media. Even Shaq.' -- anonymous agent
"'It's horrendous. It's evil. It's a hard drug to quit when you're winning. Kobe has cost the Lakers dearly in human capital. Kobe has hurt a lot of people. In some cases jeopardized careers.' -- rival front office executive
"Bryant seems to be taking the story more in stride than did Flea and Jackson, with whom he had a successful but tumultuous relationship.
"'It's not the first one and it won't be the last one,' Bryant said about the ESPN story. 'One thing I've come to understand over the years is that you'll have a bad story that comes out on a Monday and it seems like it's the end of the world and it seems like everybody's taking shot at you. But time goes by and then you llok back on it and it was just a Monday.
"'Then you have another great story that comes out maybe a month later, or something like that, and it's a fantastic story. And then there's a bad story that comes out one month after that. So you understand that it's a cycle, and things are never as good or as bad as they seem in the moment in time.'"
On Oct. 22, ESPN's Charley Rosen wrote a story which highlights Jackson's evaluation of each Knicks player for the 2014-15 NBA season. Jackson first weighed in on his point guards Jose Calderon and Pablo Prigioni:
"Jose Calderon and Pablo Prigioni are heady and steady. Neither of them will have any trouble figuring out the triangle (offense). Jose is a lights-out shooter and, like Pablo, rarely if ever takes a bad shot. Jose especially takes very good care of the ball. They're aggressive enough on offense to be a threat, but not nearly as aggressive on the other end of the court. The task for both of them is to be much better on-the-ball defenders."
Here's his assessement of All-Star foward Carmelo Anthony:
"Carmelo Anthony is oviously the team's only certified All-Star. It's also no secret that Melo has to keep the ball moving, but he's committed to doing this. Passing has never been a great strength of his, but in the triangle he'll be able to have check-off reads like a quarterback looking for his first-option receiver, then his second and then his third. There'll be plenty of iso opportunities for Melo, and in the triangle it'll be very difficult for defenses to double team him. It won't be like last season where he had to take clutch shots with a gang of defenders in his face. Also look for Melo to get a bunch of post-up looks."
And here was how he sized up power forward Amar'e Stoudemire:
"One of the keys to the season will be the play of Amar'e Stoudemire. Although his tender knees will require his playing time and his practice time to be carefully monitored, we hope he'll be able to play four rotations of eight minutes per game. That's because Stoudemire can still be a potent scorer. He can get to the middle when he's in the low post, and in screen rolls he's a threat to either screen-and-pop or drive to the hoop. Playing adequate defense is a real challenge for him and he's also got to improve his rebounding. The preseason will also discover whether Amar'e is more effective playing the 4 or 5 positions."
Jackson, an 11-time NBA champion head coach, has a 1,155-485 (.704) win-loss record in 20 seasons with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, per Basketball-Reference.com.
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