Former Chicago Bulls head coach, 11-time NBA Champion Phil Jackson was formally announced as team president of the New York Knicks Tuesday morning at a press conference.
“Phil welcome back to where it all started. Your original home in the NBA: the New York Knickerbockers,” Knicks chairman James Dolan said as Jackson took the stage for the first time as president.
Jackson, whose 17-year playing career included a ten year stint with the Knicks, talked about changing the culture of the organization in order to change the performance of the team. This season has undoubtedly been a struggle, showing an underwhelming 27-40 record. But despite the lack of success, fans still fill Madison Square Garden night-in and night-out. A fact Jackson made sure to allude to in his speech. And with that, he gave the fans something to look forward to.
“We want to build a team,” Jackson stated. “A team doesn’t have an ‘I’ in it. We’ve used that expression a few times as coaches, but this is a franchise that developed a team back in the 1960s that was consistently playing team basketball for seven, eight years.”
Jackson stood at the podium with no written speech in hand, opting instead to speak straight from the heart, a gesture that is sure to resonate with fans and front office staff alike.
“There is no better place to win than New York City,” said Jackson, who won two rings as a Knicks player in the 1970s before his Hall of Fame coaching career which includes the likes of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant -- arguably two of the best players to ever play the game of basketball. “It really is something that is special. It had a definite impact on my decision to come here.”
With all the success Jackson has gained over the years -- including six NBA Championships with the Bulls -- coupled with his fundamental ideas of changing the culture of this struggling Knicks team, odds are there are brighter days that lay ahead.
“If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. And we are going to make it,” Jackson said.