A Zen for Success

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Phil Jackson, who recently returned to coaching the Los Angeles Lakers after a year’s break to “pause and reflect,” is a man who wears many hats. From evangelical Christian to Zen master to basketball genius, the coherent thread running through his many identities is an intense passion for whatever he sets his hand to. After flirting with the ministry, the Pentecostal-raised Jackson discarded the idea in favor of playing basketball for the New York Knicks (1967�78). When his playing career ended, he became a Zen practitioner and yoga devotee, and brought some of the Buddhist ethos to the rough, macho world of professional basketball as a coach of the Chicago Bulls (1989�98) and the L.A. Lakers (1999�2004 and 2005�present). While coaching, he garnered an amazing nine championships, a feat equaled by only one other coach in NBA history.

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