Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson will coach the Western Conference All-Stars for the 2009 NBA All-Star Game, to be played on Sunday, Feb. 15, at US Airways Center in Phoenix.
With the Lakers’ 108-97 win over the Los Angeles Clippers tonight, Jackson and the Lakers (33-8, .805) have at least tied for the best winning percentage in the conference through Feb. 1. In the event that the Spurs and the Lakers have the same winning percentage through Feb. 1, Jackson would earn the spot to coach the West All-Stars since Gregg Popovich has coached an All-Star team most recently (2005). This marks the fourth time Jackson will serve as an All-Star head coach (1992, 1996, 2000).
Head coaches for the East and West All-Star teams are based on teams with the best winning percentage in each conference. Last year’s coaches – Boston’s Doc Rivers and New Orleans’ Byron Scott – are not eligible to coach in the 2009 All-Star Game.
This season marks Jackson’s ninth year at the helm of the Lakers and his 18th season as a head coach. Jackson’s 1,009-426 (.703) record gives him the best winning percentage in NBA history, with his win total ranking him sixth all-time. Jackson became the first coach in NBA history to lead a team to three consecutive championships three different times (Chicago, 1991-93 and 1996-98; Los Angeles, 2000-02), while his 193 postseason wins are the most by any head coach in league history. A member of the Naismith Hall of Fame, Jackson has led the Lakers to three NBA Championships and five Western Conference Championships. The Lakers’ 15-1 (.938) run in the 2001 NBA Playoffs marked the highest winning percentage by any team in a single postseason. From 1996 to 2003, Jackson led his teams (Chicago and Los Angeles) to an NBA-best 25 consecutive postseason series wins. With nine NBA championships over the last 18 years, Jackson is tied with Red Auerbach (Boston) for most NBA Championships in league history.