As the Los Angeles Lakers were wrapping up Wednesday’s practice and preparing to charter a flight to Houston for the start of a four-game road trip, Phil Jackson settled in at a table with Kurt Rambis.
Jackson sat with his back toward the courts while he spoke with Rambis, who returned to the organization in September as a senior basketball advisor. It was the first time Jackson has been publicly seen at the Lakers’ facility in the last two years.
Jackson’s presence was spotted during head coach Luke Walton’s scrum with media. Because he was seated in an area opposite of where Walton was, it was unclear at the time if his mentor indeed had made a surprise visit.
“I have not talked to Phil today, no, but if that’s him, I’ll head upstairs,” Walton said. Jackson is one of the many current or former coaches Walton keeps in contact with.
“Even the one year I semi-retired, Phil is someone I like to stay in constant communication with,” he said.
Walton previously credited Jackson for accelerating his path to becoming a head coach by allowing him to sit in on meetings during times he was injured as a player. Walton has taken up the same practice with Rajon Rondo this season.
When asked if he thought Jackson would approve of the job he’s done with the Lakers, Walton laughed and said, “You’d have to ask Phil that.”