Phil Jackson absolved James Dolan for all the dysfunction and losing that has characterized the Knicks for nearly 15 years, claiming that the Garden Chairman was forced to become involved in the day-to-day operations of the club.
“He had to meddle” Jackson said, “because of the (poor) decisions that were made.”
Previously, Dolan and the Garden have gone to great lengths to dismiss the notion that Dolan meddles in the basketball operations. Jackson reiterated that Dolan gave him assurances that he’ll allow him to run the team.
Jackson was a featured speaker at The New Yorker Festival on Sunday in Manhattan. The moderator, Ben McGrath, asked Jackson questions on a variety of topics from Spike Lee’s basketball acumen, coaching Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant to whether he would advise Carmelo Anthony to follow his lead and experiment with LSD.
“No, it’s not one of the prerequisites,” Jackson joked.
The Knicks president also took a dig at Spike Lee, who is doing a documentary on the triangle offense, the system that Jackson made famous. In explaining that spacing and ball movement are crucial in the triangle, Jackson concluded: “It’s not that complicated. It’s not rocket science.”
When the conversation turned to Lee, the director and famous Knicks supporter, Jackson had the crowd inside the SVA theater on West 23rd laughing when he stated: “Spike is an avid Knicks fan who doesn’t know anything about basketball.”
Dolan has famously said that he’s not a basketball genius. However, Jackson, who is being paid $ 15 million annually by Dolan to resurrect the Knicks, was kind to his controversial boss.
“He has this tremendous, competitive drive,” he said.
Jackson said of Carmelo Anthony “has just touched the surface of his greatness.”
He also mentioned returning to the Garden two seasons ago to honor the Knicks 1973 Championship team.
“Hopefully we won’t have to wait many more years before we have another celebration here,” he said.