And then he started talking about Kobe. Other than Jackson's health, the biggest reason he nearly retired last June was because he didn't want to be coaching Kobe Bryant when he stopped being Kobe Bryant. If you remember, Kobe struggled in Round 1 of the 2010 playoffs, rallied in the next two rounds, then gave the Lakers just enough to survive a seven-game war against Boston. Looking ahead while factoring in everything he had just witnessed, measuring the lessons of history, counting Kobe's NBA miles … the coach couldn't tell for sure. Either Kobe had one elite season left in him, or he didn't. Jackson's instincts were telling him no. His heart was telling him yes. Once his players started pressuring him to return, then the fans, then his girlfriend, he caved and came back. One more year.
There was a follow-up question that I probably should have asked. Why wouldn't you want to coach Kobe as he's transitioning out of his prime? FULL ARTICLE