Phil Jackson talking Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan? In Jackson's new book "Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success" he has plenty to say about the two players. Eric Pincus and Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times acquired an early release of the book and have been reporting quotes like the following on Bryant being reserved when he was younger:
"Kobe is different. He was reserved as a teenager, in part because he was younger than the other players and hadn't developed strong social skills in college. When Kobe first joined the Lakers, he avoided fraternizing with his teammates. But his inclination to keep to himself shifted as he grew older. Increasingly, Kobe put more energy into getting to know the other players, especially when the team was on the road."
Jackson also compared the defense of Jordan and Kobe, giving the clear edge to Jordan, reports Bresnahan:
"No question, Michael was a tougher, more intimidating defender. He could break through virtually any screen and shut down almost any player with his intense, laser-focused style of defense," said Jackson, who coached Jordan to six championships and Bryant to five.
"Kobe has learned a lot from studying Michael's tricks, and we often used him as our secret weapon on defense when we needed to turn the direction of a game. In general, Kobe tends to rely more heavily on his flexibility and craftiness, but he takes a lot of gambles on defense and sometimes pays the price."
The book releases on Tuesday, but the bevy of quotes that Pincus and Bresnahan have reported indicate Jackson is speaking very candidly about Bryant. Expect to hear plenty about Jackson as his book releases, he serves as a consultant for the Detroit Pistons in a head coach search, and has multiple teams interested in bringing the Zen Master to their organization.
In the meantime, be sure to check out the full range of updates at L.A. Times as they are fluently adding new quote and tidbits from the book. Another, non-Kobe update for the road involves the tale of Jackson giving Metta World Peace advice on his shooting and Brian Shaw
saving Phil's life pulling Phil aside with a "warning", reports Pincus:
"Why are you always picking on me?" asked World Peace after Jackson gave him some early advice on his shooting style.
"I didn't know I was picking on you," replied Jackson. "I'm just trying to help you along."
Jackson's assistant Brian Shaw pulled him aside with a warning, "You're walking a dangerous line there, Phil."
- Follow this author on Twitter @DrewGarrisonSBN