- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 16, 2009

TAKE YOUR PICK WHO’S THE BEST NBA COACH OF ALL TIME, PHIL JACKSON OR RED AUERBACH?

Phil Jackson After the Lakers won their 15th NBA title Sunday, Phil Jackson didn’t don the typical hat given to the victor. Instead, he wore a custom-made yellow lid with a purple Roman numeral “X” on it, letting everyone know the Zen Master’s 10th title moved him past the late Red Auerbach for the most championships by a coach. But Jackson’s critics like to remind everyone that he has coached two of the greatest players of all time, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, and the most dominant big man of this generation, Shaquille O’Neal.

Red Auerbach Auerbach’s nine NBA titles certainly defined him after his retirement, but people forget Auerbach’s Celtics won eight consecutive titles from 1959 to 1966. Like Jackson, Auerbach was blessed with some of the greatest players of all time. In all, he coached 13 Hall of Famers, including Bill Russell, Bob Cousy and John Havlicek.

Our take An underrated aspect of being blessed with great players is managing the egos that come along with them. Jackson’s ability not only to manage players like Jordan and Bryant but also to parlay them into 10 titles makes him untouchable in the coaching ranks. Sure, Auerbach’s record of eight consecutive titles likely will never be broken, but you could argue Jackson’s stretch from 1996 to 2002, when he won six NBA titles with the Lakers and Bulls in seven seasons, was just as impressive.

TWT FIVE TOP ATHLETE TWEETERS

1. Shaquille O’Neal, 1,251,803 followers — He congratulated Kobe Bryant after the Lakers won the NBA title.

2. Lance Armstrong, 1,059,540 followers—He announced the birth of his son Maxwell Edward Armstrong on Twitter.

3. Tony Hawk, 855,584 followers — He conducts trivia contests and gives away free skateboards to the winners.

4. Paul Pierce, 451,521 followers — He announced plans to give away regular-season and playoff tickets on Twitter.

5. Serena Williams, 333,215 followers — She primarily uses it to respond to her fans and promote blog entries on her Web site.

HE SAID WHAT?

“People question your parenting and what you’re doing. Honestly, we don’t think it’s that big a deal. He’s not leaving school to go work in a fast-food restaurant.” — Ron Harper, the father of 16-year-old baseball phenom Bryce Harper, who plans to get his GED and attend junior college so he can enter the 2010 MLB Draft


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