Kobe Asked Phil Jackson For An Autograph When They First Met
Jackson tells a story about him trying to decide whether or not he wanted to jump back into coaching. He was in a hotel room during his cross country trip and was watching the Lakers getting swept by the Spurs saying it was, “painful to watch.”
Jackson talks a bit about the mistakes the Lakers were making and the adjustments he would have likely made if he were the coach. He said he could visualize “ways to counter the Spurs’ strategy and transform the Lakers into the team they were destined to be.” And that’s the message he wanted to give in his first press conference with the Los Angeles media.
That’s the message I wanted to deliver in late June at my first news conference as the newly appointed head coach of the team. The event was held at the Beverly Hills Hilton, and while I was preparing my remarks, Kobe dropped by my room, carrying a copy of my book Sacred Hoops. He asked me to sign the book and said he was a big Bulls fan. It was a good sign.
This was an interesting story in Eleven Rings because it was one of the few times that Jackson shed light on Kobe’s vulnerability — especially at a young age. That same season, Kobe told Michael Jordan that he could beat him in a game of one-on-one after Jackson arranged a meeting with Jordan during a road trip to Chicago.
Jackson’s thought that Kobe wanting him to sign a copy of his book being a good omen ultimately came to fruition as the Lakers would go on to win the title that season, and the two years following despite some differences in how to go about winning those championships.