Great, now I have to go and defend another Phil Jackson tweet.
Warriors point guard -- and God's own shooting sleeve -- Steph Curry set the world on fire in Saturday night's overtime win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Naturally, the Zen Master took to social media to share his thoughts on the reigning MVP:
Never seen anything like SCurry? Remind you of Chris Jackson/ Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, who had a short but brilliant run in NBA?— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) February 28, 2016
Oh, Phil. This was his first tweet since the now-infamous "coaching/psychology/???" manifesto published in the wake of Derek Fisher's firing, and it was a doozy. How the hell could Phil compare the greatest three-point shooter of all time to Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf?
Believe it or not, Phil's comparison isn't as bitter-old-man-style as Oscar Robertson's "nobody plays defense anymore" rant. Abdul-Rauf may be best remembered by casual NBA fans as the man who wouldn't stand and salute the flag during the National Anthem, but the 6'1" guard was a dynamo in his day. Jackson isn't the first guy to compare him to Curry. Here's SB Naton's own Eddie Maisonet, from 2014:
The few who remember Abdul-Rauf's career compare him to present-day stars like Stephen Curry or Kyrie Irving. His quick release, shooting ability and handles were all top of the line. While Curry and Irving have become the focal points of their respective team's offenses, Abdul-Rauf was always placed in a smaller role with Denver, where players like Mutombo and Antonio McDyess were given first dibs.
With Curry's Warriors gunning for the single-season wins record, fans, writers and announcers are constantly paying homage to the team that currently holds the mark: Phil Jackson's 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. It should come as little surprise then that Jackson is reminded of Abdul-Rauf, who almost single-handedly handed that Bulls squad one of its 10 regular-season losses. Check out the highlights from that game ... you can definitely see some proto-Curry elements:
Phil simply saw Curry's performance the way all former coaches and players do, through the prism of their own personal NBA experience. Steph reminded him of another willowy guard with a sweet shooting stroke, one who terrorized his Bulls team -- a.k.a. the greatest club in league history. That's hardly a diss.