The Last Season: A Team In Search of Its Soul by Phil Jackson
I got this hardcover for around 500Php (12USD) at a local bookstore after looking for it in bargain bins everywhere for the past few years. Yeah, it is a relatively outdated book as Phil is back coaching the Lakers after a brief hiatus but it still contains interesting backstory (from Phil’s point of view) on what happened back in 2004; This was when the Lakers had it’s 2 Hall of Famers, Shaq and Kobe, team up with 2 other future Hall of Famers as well in Karl Malone and Gary Payton and the drama that unfolded during the season.
Good read overall especially for fans of the game.
Jacksonâ€™s chronicle of his final season as the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers moves as crisply as a well-executed fast break. Under his direction, the Lakers won three NBA titles, but failed to reach the championship round in 2003. Determined to make another run at the finals in the 2003â€“2004 season, the Lakers added Hall of Fame players Karl Malone and Gary Payton to a team that already featured superstars Shaquille Oâ€™Neal and Kobe Bryant. But instead of producing another ring, the Lakers were crushed in the finals by the Detroit Pistons. That the Lakers even reached the last round of the playoffs was a feat given the turmoil that surrounded the team (involving the animosity between Shaq and Bryant, and Bryantâ€™s rape charge). Jackson briefly critiques the Lakersâ€™ biggest games of the regular season and analyzes each playoff performance, providing fresh insight without boring readers with play-by-play accounts. He peppers the narrative with pungent observations of his starsâ€”and itâ€™s no surprise that he saves his sharpest criticisms for Bryant. While Shaq could be difficult to deal with, Jackson contends, he was ultimately a team player. And although Shaq and Bryant reached a truce in the seasonâ€™s final months, Jackson sees Bryant as the epitome of todayâ€™s selfish player, a “callous gun for hire.”