Madison Square Garden Executive Chairman James L. Dolan today announced that legendary basketball figure Phil Jackson has joined the New York Knicks as the organization’s President. Steve Mills will serve as General Manager. Both Mr. Jackson and Mr. Mills will report directly to Mr. Dolan.
“There is only one Phil Jackson, and he is synonymous with winning basketball teams,” said Mr. Dolan. “His history of success in the NBA is unrivaled, and he is the ideal executive to lead our team and develop short and long term plans that build a successful franchise and result in an NBA championship. That is our only goal, and what our loyal fans deserve.
“In addition to the tremendous respect I have for Phil regarding basketball, over the last several months, I have had the opportunity to get to know him personally, and have developed a high regard for his character and passion as an individual,” Dolan added. “I am confident that he and Steve Mills have the right combination of complementary skills to make this franchise successful.”
In his role as President, Mr. Jackson will be in charge of all basketball decisions.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to work with Jim Dolan. I have gotten to know Jim and he is totally committed to delivering a winner for New York. I started my career as a Knick, and know what it feels like to win in this great city,” said Mr. Jackson. “I take the task of helping to deliver a winning team to our fans seriously, and look forward to combining my vision of the game with Steve Mills’ abilities as a General Manager.”
“When Jim first asked me to join the Knicks this past fall, I said my goal was to be part of a winning organization,” said Mr. Mills. “With Phil Jackson aboard, we’ve taken a major step in that direction. I look forward to working with him.”
According to the New York Daily News, ” The Zen Master made it clear Tuesday that he’d like to see the Knicks return to the style of team basketball that led to two championships in the 1970s. “I believe in system basketball,” Jackson said at his introductory press conference Tuesday. “We want to build a team.” Jackson touched on the team’s contentious relationship witht he media, and said that the organization “has suffered” in recent years as a result of that policy. “I’ll be accessable,” Jackson said, adding that there will still be walls between the club and the people who cover it. “I’m reaching out to say to you today that we’ll have an open relationship.” After posing for photos, Jackson took a seat on the stage between Garden chairman James Dolan and Knicks GM Steve Mills.”
And according to ESPN New York, “Jackson confirmed that the length of his deal with the Knicks is for five years. Financial terms weren’t released, but sources told ESPN.com last week that he will receive $12 million annually. Jackson and Mills will report directly to Dolan, the Knicks said. But Dolan and Jackson both noted Tuesday that Jackson will have full autonomy, with Dolan adding he will cede power to Jackson “willfully and gracefully.” Jackson has won an NBA-record 11 NBA titles as a head coach and two more as a Knicks forward.”
Mr. Jackson won two championships as a player with the Knicks in 1970 and 1973, and is widely considered one of the greatest coaches in the history of the National Basketball Association. He was the head coach of the Chicago Bulls from 1989 until 1998, during which time Chicago won six NBA titles. His next team, the Los Angeles Lakers, won five NBA titles from 2000 until 2010. In total, Jackson has won 11 NBA titles as a coach, surpassing the previous record of nine set by Red Auerbach. He also holds the NBA record for the most combined championships as a player and a head coach. In 2007 Jackson was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In 1996, as part of celebrations for the National Basketball Association’s 50th anniversary, Jackson was named one of the 10 greatest coaches in league history.