"It’s not all about basketball,” Fisher said. "He believes in a balance in life that also applies to how you play on the court. He emphasizes all five guys are important, even if you have a superstar like Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan. He stresses all five guys must mesh well to be successful.”
"The thing that separates him from other coaches is his ability to build a community and get guys to play for each other,” Bryant said. "In this day and age, you have so many different agendas, guys wanting to improve their game on a personal level.
"He’s been able to help players do that individually within the collective group. The triangle offense is a way to get players to play together. He’s just a great person who understands people extremely well.”
Where Jackson ranks among the best coaches is debatable. Many would say No. 1.
"Phil is one of the best coaches ever,” said Ric Bucher of ESPN the Magazine. "The best? The biggest problem is comparing different eras. You really can’t compare Red Auerbach with Phil Jackson. But I would say Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich are the two best coaches of the modern era.”
Jackson doesn’t refute Auerbach’s contention that Hall of Fame players have been the cornerstone to his success.
"Without a doubt, I feel blessed. Sometimes you wonder why it happens to you. My belief system is people are set for the occasion, built for the situation. I thought that until (George) Bush 2001 happened,” Jackson said, smiling.
"I will remember my career simply as having coached some of the greatest players in basketball — Kobe Bryant, Shaq, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.”