The Los Angeles Lakers of the early 2000s formed one of the most dominant teams of all-time, en route to three consecutive championships.
The team features a duo of the league’s best center in Shaquille O’Neal, paired with one of the league’s bright young stars in Kobe Bryant.
The man who was in charge of controlling all the egos in the locker room and leading the organization to victory was one of the best head coaches in NBA history, Phil Jackson. The “Zen Master” has an NBA record 11 championship rings as a head coach, with five of them coming with the Lakers.
The trio of O’Neal, Bryant, and Jackson could have won more rings together, but ego got in the way and ultimately marked the end of O’Neal in Los Angeles as he was traded to the Miami Heat after the 2004 season.
In a recent interview with Fox Sports 1’s Chris Broussard, O’Neal talked about some of the methods that Jackson employed on them and how it mad him angry, but O’Neal never responded:
— FS1 (@FS1) February 20, 2017
In the interview, O’Neal also talked about how former great Lakers centers like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain used to criticize him, which would motivate him to be better.
After being traded O’Neal won one more championship ring with the Heat in 2006, and the pair of Bryant and Jackson won two more championships in Los Angeles, but none of them saw the same success as they had in the early 2000s after the trio was broken up.
Jackson has moved on from coaching and now currently serves as the president of basketball operations for the New York Knicks, where he has not nearly been as successful as he was when he was a coach.