Phil Jackson’s time as president of the New York Knicks was forgettable at best, but the local media might not have done him any favors either.
Speaking this week with Marc Berman of The New York Post, Charley Rosen, Jackson’s confidant and biographer, expressed his belief that the New York media resented the Zen Master for his success with the Chicago Bulls.
“Yeah, he was a Knick, but also was coach of the Bulls who beat New York in the playoffs,” said Rosen of Jackson. “If you’re too successful, people want to knock you off the pedestal. That happened in the New York media.”
Jackson won two titles in 11 seasons with the Knicks as a player from 1967 to 1978 and returned as their team president from 2014 to 2017. Between those two stints however, he enjoyed plenty of success at the expense of the Knicks, eliminating them in the playoffs four times in the 1990s as coach of the Bulls.
Jackson’s tenure as Knicks president was an unequivocal failure regardless — the team went through three head coaches and lost 50 or more games in every single season. But Rosen may have a point about the treatment of Jackson by the New York press, as he fielded the majority of the blame despite the Knicks having deeper organizational tensions present.