Friday Forum

Dave Murphy —  May 31, 2013

The book tour was over, the late night talk shows, radio appearances and lunchtime interviews on sun-dappled patios in select cities. He was back at home, sitting on his high comfortable chair at the breakfast counter. In front of him was a  tablet device and a small case housing his eleven championship rings from his days as a coach and the two rings he earned as a player. His fiancee was in another room. She was on a conference call with an Asian electronics consortium. The topic of conversation had to do with leasing rights for the Los Angeles Lakers. Her father’s will had very strict stipulations about the team’s ownership but there wasn’t anything in there about offshore leasing. Jeanie thought it was a win-win. The conversation was at a delicate and critical stage.

Phil was looking at the tablet screen, frowning. He was comparing several different reviews of his latest book, cross-checking them not only for accuracy but to also make sure that everyone understood the spirit of his communications. He removed all of his rings from the case and carefully arranged them on the counter. He took a cell-pic, then rearranged them again and took another cell-pic. He sighed, called out plaintively.

“Hey Jeanie, are you busy?”

There was an apologetic murmur from the other room. “I’m on my conference call honey. The one I told you about?”

“Oh, okay. I’m not sure all these so-called sportswriters understand the essential truths that I’m trying to get across here. There are discrepancies.”

“Okay honey. We can talk about it at lunch. After I’m done with my call.”

“Oh, okay. Do you know what Portia’s making us for lunch?”

“No honey, but you can ask her.”

Phil sighed heavily. It wasn’t easy being a legendary ex-coach with eleven rings plus two others which made a total of 13. Not that he was counting. He frowned at his arrangement of rings, bent down and flicked a tiny piece of dust off a sparkling purple jewel.

“Hey Jeanie? Do you think Portia might have been dusting my rings earlier?”

There was sigh and a pause, followed by a bright and somewhat tremulous reply. “Not since you had them out earlier this morning, Phil.”

“Oh. I’m not concerned about it. They’re just ornaments.”

“Yes honey, rings are ornaments. Sometimes it can take a long time to get the ornament you want. I just gotta finish up this call.”

From ESPN, Phil Jackson visits with Mark Willard and Mychal Thompson.

Marc Tracy for the NY Times reviews a book entitled Eleven Rings.

From Scott Soshnick at Bloomberg News, Phil says Carmelo should read Sacred Hoops.

Dave McMenamin from ESPN relays Phil’s advice – the Colin Cowherd conversation with Phil is also embedded.

From Joseph Nicks at Silver Screen & Roll, Phil offers insight into some things.

Drew Garrison at Silver Screen and Roll on the zen of being a distraction.

Jeanie had finally finished her call. She took a deep breath, ran some spreadsheet numbers on her laptop. She had a full afternoon ahead of her. Phil had stopped posing questions 20 minutes earlier. She smiled slightly, wondered what he was doing. Maybe sitting in his garden, perhaps contemplating the universe. Her cell chirped again. She looked at the screen and frowned, then picked up. “Yes Jim?” A long pause as she listened. “Okay Jim, I’ll ask him.”

A long moment passed. Another deep and tremulous breath. It wasn’t easy balancing the business end of a billion-dollar franchise and challenging family dynamics.

“Phil honey? Did you go on the radio and claim to be the only true son of the basketball gods?”

The zen-master ambled by in the background. “Eleven rings, babe. Plus two more as a player.” He entered the bedroom. Soft warm sunlight streamed through the windows. There was a small sandbox with a tiny rake and some pebbles on his nightstand. He lowered himself onto his bed for his mid-morning nap. He wondered what Portia was making for lunch. Maybe he’d make some calls later, just offer a little insight here and there. He enjoyed life’s little teaching moments.

Dave Murphy