Former Laker Breaks His Silence on LeBron James’ Rift With Phil Jackson

Published 10/18/2021, 11:00 AM EDT
SHENZHEN, CHINA – OCTOBER 12: #23 Lebron James of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during a preseason game as part of 2019 NBA Global Games China at Shenzhen Universiade Center on October 12, 2019 in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)


Over the years, the evergreen LeBron James has worked under numerous world-class coaches. He has succeeded on a personal as well as team level at all his franchises, and continues to do so. Now entering his 19th season in the NBA, James is currently playing under the guidance of the experienced Frank Vogel. However, many other coaches have had their contribution in building the icon he is today. Unfortunately, former played turned coach Phil Jackson isn’t one of them.

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In the 12 years he had as a player, Jackson was a talented prospect. Yet, most of his accolades when he became a coach, with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. He surpassed many records along the way, winning 6 championships with the Bulls and 5 with LA. On the other hand, the now 76-year-old lost the respect of LeBron, owing to some remarks that he made. But former Laker, Metta Sandiford-Artest has come in support of Jackson, the coach.

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Lakers head coach Phil Jackson reacts to an officials call in Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference semi–finals at the Staples Center Wednesday. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

‘Unfortunate’: Metta Sandiford-Artest on the LeBron James-Phil Jackson issue

Back in 2016, 17-time All-star James and Phil Jackson were involved in an argument. Up until then, the duo had nothing but respect and regard for one another. But after the former Knicks President called James‘ business associates as ‘posse’, all hell broke loose. Since then, neither of them have really been in touch, although there is a lot of mutual respect for each other’s work. And now, Metta Sandiford-Artest has given his take on the incidents.

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Recently speaking about the issue, the former star who played under Jackson had a lot to say. “I know him [Phil Jackson] and LeBron had issues but you know what’s so crazy? When him and LeBron had those little issues it was kind of unfortunate,” claimed the 2004 All-star. He featured for about two outings when Phil coached the potent Lakers squad. “But for me personally, I loved the guy. He opened up my mind into playing basketball at a calm level.”

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Though the exchanges caused a rift between James and Jackson, they are both phenomenal at what they do. It was just an unfortunate thing to have happened.

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Sankalp Harikrishnan

446 articles

Sankalp Harikrishnan is a Tennis and NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He aspires to pursue Sports Journalism and has represented his institution in cricket, badminton, football and table tennis. Sankalp idolises Roger Federer and Stephen Curry, and has an inherent love for statistics.

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