Knicks president Phil Jackson is many things — basketball lifer, motorcycle enthusiast, occasional tweeter, mystic seeker — but above all he is a powerful old man. And no matter where they come from, powerful old men tend to explain their motives in a similar way ... by disparaging young people.
So it was with the Zen Master’s explanation for firing Derek Fisher in part 5 of “The Phil Jackson Chronicles.” Last week’s edition covered a meeting with Phil that took place 10 days before Fisher was canned, and at that time Jackson seemed quite pleased with the direction of the team. So what changed?
Judging by the first interview after the firing, not much. Phil praised Fisher for moving the team forward. There were some mild criticisms of the way he handled the rotation, some vague mentions to the struggles in his personal life, and, of course, a rant against those dang millennials:
He was training individuals, which was really in tune with the so-called millennials, young people and young players who are primarily interested in themselves. In the NBA, these young guys are concerned with what playing for whatever team they’re on can do for them. Can playing in New York or Boston or LA or wherever add 10K followers to my Twitter account? Will the local media get me lucrative endorsements? What do I have to concentrate on to get a better contract?
Uh ... OK. There’s also some praise for Kurt Rambis, a few hits of pop psychology and a standard “Triangle = teamwork” discussion and that’s pretty much it.
We probably won’t know what really went down with the Derek Fisher firing for years, if ever. Hopefully this is the last time Phil will have to talk about it — that would be best for everyone involved.