The Lakers’ Phil Jackson, 64, has coached 10 NBA champions, making him the most successful coach in major-league sports history. Jackson, known as the Zen Master for his mind games, went from the University of North Dakota to the great New York Knick teams that won NBA titles in 1970 and 1973.
The tornado siren test Saturday alarmed some members of the Laker party. Did you hear tornado sirens in North Dakota? Jackson: "No, they didn’t have them. Of course, that was just past the Ice Age when I was up there. But they were in Illinois, and I heard ’em often in Illinois.” What should you do if you hear a legit siren? Jackson: "Get downstairs. Right? This is Tornado Alley, no doubt about it.” California has earthquakes, which you don’t know are coming. Tornadoes, you get some warning. Which is worse? Jackson: "Earthquakes last just a short period of time, 20 seconds, 30 seconds at most. Tornadoes can last for a little bit of time. They can come in and whip it up. I think the hurricanes are the worst, myself. That kind of 24 hours of persistent noise and wind are really the hardest.” What are your thoughts on Oklahoma City’s excitement level forthe NBA playoffs? Jackson: "This is the way Seattle started out, the only major sport in town. Then there’s Portland, Salt Lake City, etc., etc. We know in the NBA there is (a) real personal attachment with these teams that come to this level of excitement.