What is Phil Jackson thinking? No one knows for sure who the Zen Master plans to hire to be the Knicks' next head coach, or if he has even finished interviewing candidates, but as a responsible journalist it is my sacred duty to speculate based on little to no evidence.
One popular technique of responsible speculation is to find people who encountered Phil many years ago and ask them to guess his line of thinking.
With that in mind, I interviewed three long-ago Phil confidants with the purpose of divining once and for all just who exactly he plans to hire.
Gertrude Jurgensen, Jackson's elementary school teacher in Montana:
"Never understood the appeal of basket ball myself., They take the young boys, stick 'em in a metal cage wearing peach baskets for helmets and they spin around in circles -- that's how the game is played, right? It's far too violent ... just like dancing and telephones. You know who's to blame? That good-for-nothing Franklin Roosevelt, always rabble-rousing youngsters like Philip.
"As for your question, I've heard there's a fine coach down in Kansas by the name of Phog Allen. Perhaps Philip should hire him to lead his sporting club."
Greg Dembeck, Albany Patroons season ticket-holder in 1984:
"Contrary to popular belief, we do not call hamburgers 'steamed hams.' That joke comes from The Simpsons, and, honestly, it's getting pretty old. Yea, I met Phil during that magical championship season. We beat the pants off them Wyoming Wildcatters in the Finals that year! Whatever happened to Walt Williams? "Walt the Stalt" is what we called him back in them days. I think Phil should hire him to coach the Knicks."
Casey Stormare, who took peyote with Phil one time in the '70s:
"Phil loves his books. Tried to show me a book on basketball offensive strategy, but the damn book came to life and tried to bite my hand off! I said, "Phil, this book is alive," to which he replied, "Offense is a living organism." Then we went out into the forest to hunt jaguars.
"We stumbled upon two magnificent specimens, covered in jade and other fine jewels. 'We have come from the ancient city of Teotihuacan,' the one jaguar said. 'We heard of a land to the north, where there are water slides and beef jerky is cheap and abundant.'
"'There are many different kind of jerky in America,' Phil replied. 'Turkey, pork, chicken ... even venison. I will guide you to the nearest water park, and buy you two weekend passes so you can ride all the water slides you want. But first, please answer me this: If I am team president of the New York Knicks in the year 2016 A.D., who should I choose as head coach?'
"The bejeweled jaguars roared in unison: 'Whoever it may be, you cannot pick Kurt Rambis. Dude will be 99 games below .500 by that point in his career. His defensive schemes will be laughably outdated, and the players will show him no respect. The jaguars have spoken!'
"So, yeah, I'd say he should hire anyone but Rambis. Now, if you don't mind, I'm gonna head down to Wawa and pick up some beef jerky."
Note: These interviews did not take place and are not based on actual people.
... or are they?
... seriously, they aren't.