Former Bulls and Lakers head coach Phil Jackson used the principles of Buddhism, which he practiced daily, to control eccentric star Dennis Rodman.
When it comes to the greatest coaches in NBA history, Phil Jackson’s name is one of the first to pop up, and rightly so. The Zen Master ended with 11 championships, including 6 with Michael Jordan’s Bulls and 5 with Kobe Bryant’s Lakers, including three three different rounds as well.
Happy 75th Anniversary Phil Jackson Basketball Hall of Fame 🐐
◦ 2 rings as a player
◦ 11 rings as trainer pic.twitter.com/6NRZGcJ98O
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 17, 2020
While his knowledge of the game was nothing short of extraordinary, what sets Phil Jackson apart and above the rest of the competition is his ability to handle and manage egos. Whether it was Jordan or Kobe, the Zen Master was the undisputed king of man management. However, his best work might have been dealing with Dennis Rodman, who was unique and eccentric in every sense of the word.
So how exactly did he control Rodman? Keep reading to find out…
Also Read: ‘Phil Jackson Said I Was His Favorite Player To Coach Michael Jordan But I Don’t Know Why’: Dennis Rodman Was Flabbergasted His Bulls Coach Picked Him Over ‘GOAT’
Phil Jackson used Zen techniques to deal with Dennis Rodman.
Dennis Rodman was one of the craziest athletes ever. The Hall of Famer loved going to Las Vegas, either to gamble, to party, or to hang out at the most prestigious strip clubs on the Vegas Strip. So when the Worm arrived in Chicago, many doubted Phil Jackson could control the eccentric and savage forward.
Dennis Rodman’s infamous “48 Hours in Vegas” in the 1998 NBA Finals is going to be a movie 🍿
(🎥: ‘The Last Dance’) pic.twitter.com/FKuysBLHEI
— br_betting (@br_betting) August 31, 2021
In fact, Jackson spent much of his life studying Buddhism and its principles, under his mentor Shunryū Suzuki. In fact, Jackson himself opened much the same –
“What attracted me to the practice of Zen was its inherent simplicity. It did not involve reciting mantras or visualizing complex images, unlike other practices I had tried. Zen is pragmatic, earth- down to earth and open to exploration, it doesn’t require you to subscribe to a certain set of principles or believe anything by faith.
In fact, his spiritual approach to life worked like a charm against Dennis The Menace. In his book, Jackson opened up about his handling of the worm. He goes on to say –
“The best way to control people is to give them plenty of space and encourage them to be mischievous, then watch them. Ignoring then is not good: it’s the worst policy.”
“The second worst is trying to control them. Best to watch them. Just observe them without trying to control them. This advice came in handy later when I dealt with Dennis Rodman.
Simply put, he let Rodman do what he wanted instead of punishing him. Although no one can completely control the worm, as we saw when Rodman fled to Vegas in the finale. That being said, no one else understands his eccentricities and uniqueness better than the Zen Master himself.
Also Read: ‘Michael Jordan & Dennis Rodman Couldn’t Talk To Women!’: When John Salley Opened Up About Michael Jordan’s Initial Hazing After Moving To The Bulls