shaquille o'neal

Former Knick and NBA coaching legend Phil Jackson, who has been rumored to be Mike D’Antoni’s replacement ever since he stepped down from the Lakers, could make a third comeback. That’s according to one of Jackson’s most prominent ex-players, Shaquille O’Neal.

O’Neal, who was in New York City on Wednesday taping a segment for Yes Network’s “CenterStage” show to promote his new book Shaq Uncut, told a small group of reporters to never rule out Jackson’s return to the bench.

“He may come back,” O’Neal said. “Phil always says he’s never coming back.”

O’Neal said Jackson “changed my NBA career,” and that lasting impact would mean something to Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. That’s because Jackson has had plenty of experience managing and developing two superstars, and getting them to gel with each other, from Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen to O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. O’Neal credited Jackson’s scientific approach, from his demeanor to his routine, for how he became the Zen Master.

– Reported by Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York