Basketball has been good to me, and it has been good to those around me. After I returned from playing in Zambia, I heard Phil Jackson got fired.
Zambia was a funny trip. In the states, my team was a decent travel team. When we got off the plane in Lusaka, and we were greeted by their national media.
Questions like, “how is Magic Johnson doing?”
Questions like, “does Michael really know how to fly?”
We were a good team, but there may have been a misunderstanding about now good. Somehow, reporters thought we were playing in the NBA, and somehow, they thought we knew the greats.
Knowing the Greats
I did know the greats. I still do.
There was my friend Bill and my friend Joe. There was the 7 foot tall Happy who played for the Zambian National Team.
One of the greats I knew hung out behind my local Walmart and the lady that nearly stabbed me on the streets of DC. She was a great.
Every one of the K-5 students I picked up from school for the three years prior. Greats.
Professors, business men, lawyers, garbage men, dock workers, millionaires and those in horrific debt. All great.
Though I did not know Phil Jackson personally, it bothered me when Phil Jackson got fired.
Basketball and the Business
The bulls were awesome, and they were awesome because of everyone on the team. And when you find something as special as the Bulls in the early nineties, you stop and wonder about life.
Some people see a good thing and try to capitalize on fortunes they did not create. Same sad song. Same sad verse.
When the bulls got a short, pudgy, self absorbed little man in the front office, wheels were set in motion. Those wheels led to the day when Phil Jackson got fired.
It was the classic story of those who know nothing about a thing trying to control a thing. Every day it happens, and every day it ends less than well.
Owners hide in corners. Maybe they know better and maybe they do not. Teams are often destroyed by those that look the other way, and not those driving nails in proverbial coffins.
We all do it. We sacrifice mission for money and vision for coins in coffers. Every time I order from Amazon rather than a local vendor, or pick up a hamburger from McDonalds rather than a food truck, I do it too.
Sometimes we get so near sighted that our need for convenience overrides our passions. We feed corporations and neglect to nurture those in our community.
Often, these corporations are so inherently evil and arrogant, that we would weep knowing how they treat the environment and those around them. Life is hard, and who needs the pressure anyway?
Before we stress too hard, and before we freak right out, there are good corporations. There are some very bad ones also. We can make a difference.
Why Phil Jackson Got Fired
Phil Jackson played baseball and basketball in college. He was a spiritual man that saw through bullshit.
What made him a good coach made him a horrible corporate player. Phil Jackson had flaws, like us all, but he refused to play the game of greed over people.
He made money and he acquired wealth, but he did not do it at the expense of others. If you do not know there is a difference, you may be problem.
One of the best coaches, friends, and people, in what has become the business of basketball, got fired. Why is this good news?
At the end of the day, or life, none of what you made will matter. Whether you wear Chinos or Carhart to your grave, your destination is the same.
What do the children around you see? What do the people around you see?
Are you living for you, or for others and you?
Only you can answer that for you, and only I can answer that for me.
In a world where Phil Jackson got fired, be as good as Phil Jackson, and better. If Phil Jackson got fired, you are going to have trouble also.
That Bulls were great, because people cared about people.
If you do not know who you are, start with being someone who cares about people. The rest will handle itself.
Even Phil Jackson got fired.
You my friend, are one of the greats.