MONTREAL – While much was made of Kobe Bryant winning his fourth NBA championship ring and his first without Shaquille O’Neal, it was his coach that made history Sunday night in Orlando.
His methods may be unorthodox at times, but there is no denying that Phil Jackson knows how to get results. Now a 10-time NBA champion, the Zen Master has eclipsed a pair of legendary coaches. With longtime Celtics coach Red Auerbach and NHL coaching kingpin Scotty Bowman
each seemingly having held untouchable records of nine championships apiece, Jackson can now comfortably settle into his thrown as the new dean of coaches in pro sports.
After winning six championships with Michael Jordan and the Bulls thanks to a pair of three-peats from 1991-1993 and 1996-1998, followed by a three-peat with the Lakers from 2000-2002, Jackson made it an even 10 once the final buzzer sounded in Orlando ending his Lakers five-game series victory over the Magic.
Upon learning what it takes to win in Montreal in the 1970s, winning five Stanley Cups including four-straight from 1976 though 1979, Bowman brought his Midas touch to Pittsburgh where he would win another Cup with Mario Lemieux in 1992 before winning three more with Steve Yzerman and the Red Wings in 1997, 1998 and 2002.
A Celtics lifer, all nine of Auerbach’s championships came with Boston. The late Auerbach’s legacy is however quite secure with his nine titles coming in consecutive years from 1957 through 1966. A championship nine-peat isn’t about to be replicated, although it would be wise not to put anything past Jackson, who has quietly guided his teams to a dozen of the last 19 NBA Finals. Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com