Shaquille O’Neal Reveals the Condition Phil Jackson Put on Him For Becoming an MVP

Published 01/03/2021, 8:52 AM EST
Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach Phil Jackson (L) celebrates with players Kobe Bryant (R) and Shaquille O’Neal (C) after game four of the NBA Finals against the New Jersey Nets at Continental Airlines Arena 12 June 2002 in East Rutherford, NJ. The Lakers won their third consecutive title by a score of 113-107 to sweep the best-of-seven series 4-0. Jackson has now won nine NBA Championships as a head coach. AFP PHOTO/Jeff HAYNES (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)


If there is a head coach that has seen the most success in the league, it is Phil Jackson. His legacy is filled with coaching legends like Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and even Michael Jordan. Although the final years of his career were filled with health problems, that’s not how he should be remembered.

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The NBA world should only look back at his tenure as the coach who won 11 NBA championships throughout the league.

Retracing his legacy

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During his 20 seasons as a coach in the NBA, Jackson set records throughout. The most impressive part of his career was his incredible success during the playoffs. He won 229 playoff games and lost only 109, holding the record for the most playoff wins in the league’s coaching history.

He has 11 NBA titles under his name. And not with any franchise, the franchise that had Michael Jordan in it. Winning 6 of the titles with the Chicago Bulls and five with the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s possible that we might never witness such an accomplished coach again.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson disputes an official’s call in the fourth quarter Tuesday night, May 19, 2009, in game on of the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets. (Photo by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

How did Phil Jackson motivate Shaquille O’Neal?

On ‘All Things Covered’, Shaq opened up about the reason behind hiring Phil. He stated, “I needed somebody that could get us over the hump. So, I knew when the guys are looking at a general that knows what he’s talking about, they’re going to believe him.”

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He talks about how having someone with a resume like him makes a difference. “When he in the locker room said, ‘Do this! Do this! Do this!’ the guys are confident. I always say that if the general doesn’t panic, the troops won’t panic.”

“So, when he left the Bulls, I told Jerry West that just get him in here,” said Shaq. He also revealed what Phil said to him when they started their journey. He said, “He told me, ‘Look, you’re the best big man I’ve ever seen. Just do me a favor. This year, no rap videos, no commercials, no nothing. If you play the way I get to play, you’re going to be MVP and we’re going to win the championship’.”

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Following Jackson’s guidance, that’s precisely what happened. The Lakers finally etched their name in history, all thanks to Phil.

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Yashima Bhatia

1122 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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