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Phil Jackson won his 10th NBA Championship Sunday night, setting the NBA record for most as a head coach. He passed Celtics legend Red Auerbach, who won nine NBA titles as a head coach, including a record eight in a row.
Jackson won his first six titles with the Bulls of the 1990s, led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. He won three more with the Lakers from 2000-2002, and won his 10th title Sunday night.
Red’s daughter doesn’t think it’s fair to compare both legendary coaches.
“Not to take away from Phil, but it’s a different record,” said Randy Auerbach. “You’re talking about a record with one team in which he won the first one and then won in eight consecutive years. Phil did it with two different teams and it wasn’t consistently. It’s about quantity. If that’s his case, good for him…But it has to be broken down. It’s a different record. How do you compare eight in a row, nine in 10 years?”
Jackson acknowledged before Game 5 that Red’s era was entirely different.
“Red probably could have won two or three more championships,” said Jackson. “But I think Bill, to kind of keep him involved, he turned the team over to Bill in that general manager role and Bill went on to win a couple more championships, playing and coaching at that time. So it’s completely different….Of course, free agency wasn’t part of the game. It was eight and then expanded to 10 teams at that time. Maybe it was nine there and then went to 10. So it was a different league entirely.”
Reaction: Personally, it’s impossible to compare the coaches. Red Auerbach could’ve probably won 13-14 titles by himself if he stayed on to coach, but he also played in a highly competitive, but smaller NBA. Sure, Jackson won with the greatest players of all time (Jordan, Kobe, Shaq)…but so did Red, with Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, Tommy Heinsohn, K.C. Jones, John Havlicek, etc.
So, Phil Jackson deserves a tremendous amount of credit for taking the Lakers all the way to the top, again.