Serious question: is Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson actually a Jedi?
(Alternate question for Sacramento fans: is Jackson actually an evil Sith Lord?)
Prior to the Los Angeles Lakers' 128-107 victory over the Phoenix Suns in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Monday, Jackson was asked about preparing for Suns guard Steve Nash's frenetic playing style. The Lakers coach responded by making a basketball palming gesture and stating, "yeah, because you can't carry the ball like he does in practice. You can't pick up the ball and run with it."
While Nash dismissed the jab, others saw it as classic Jackson, yet another effort to influence officiating through subtle (and not-so-subtle) public lobbying. Indeed, Jackson has an oft-praised, oft-lamented habit of needling referees who don't see things his way, the better to -- ahem -- adjust their point of view. (And as someone who averaged 2.9 fouls and 17.6 minutes a game in his NBA playing career, Jackson knows hacks.)
Question is, does it work? Is Jackson, in fact, a mental master of puppets?
Or is he just whiny?
Page 2 reviewed Jackson's greatest verbal hits, as well as the on-court action surrounding them. Our conclusion? Nash wasn't whistled for carrying last night -- but if your Landspeeder is ever pulled over by Imperial Stormtroopers, it wouldn't hurt to have Jackson riding shotgun.
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