Today, James Dolan and the New York Knicks welcomed Phil Jackson back to Madison Square Garden as their new president. The last time Jackson worked for the Knicks, he was coming off the bench for the team back in 1978. Thirty-six years later, Jackson has 11 more rings (he won two as a player with the Knicks) and has become known as one of the greatest basketball minds of all time. The Knicks had a nice presser where they welcomed him "home." Kind words were said by Dolan, Walt "Clyde" Frazier, and others in the Knickerbockers organization.
However, there was a time when Jackson had a bit of a contentious relationship with the Knicks. You know, like the days when Phil's Bulls were knocking the Knicks out of the playoffs in the early and mid '90s? Or how about his public feud with Jeff Van Gundy? Or even better, what about what he said about the Knicks roster that he's preparing to oversee now a couple summers ago? Well, we've found some examples of Phil dissing the New York Knicks to help jog your memory.
Oh, you Knicks fans thought it was going to be all positive coverage today?
1. "(talking about the Knicks physical style of play) They're shoving our dribblers with two hands, and that's against the rules."—The New York Times, May 1992
2. "(talking about the Knicks' perceived lack of physicality during the '92-'93 season) I think they've lost a little bit of that physical nature. They've gotten so many flagrant fouls. A lot of things have drawn attention to it. Their defense is allowing more points than it ever has."—Chicago Tribune, February 1993
3. "(talking about the Knicks losing to the Heat in the 1997 NBA Playoffs) They had a very successful year last year that was short-railed by an incident that has happened time and time again with this team. They've fallen into that booby-trap many times, and this year it cost them a lot. It cost them a chance to get to the [Eastern Conference] Finals. We didn't snicker at it, because we'd have liked to have seen them in the Finals against us. Yet, it wasn't a surprise to us that it would happen."—Chicago Tribune, December 1997
4. "(talking about then-Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy after a New York loss) He deserves the blame—he should take that blame…I think he's just being self-deprecating to help his team out."—Chicago Tribune, December 1997
5. "(talking about why he would never coach the Knicks) They don't fit together well. Amar'e Stoudemire doesn't fit well with Carmelo [Anthony]. Stoudemire's a really good player. But he's gotta play in a certain system and a way. Carmelo has to be a better passer. And the ball can't stop every time it hits his hands. They need to have someone come in that can kind of blend that group together."—HBO Real Sports, June 2012
6. "(talking about the Knicks' chances of winning a title) The Knicks still have to find some accommodating group of guys that know how to play ball together, move the ball, play the game the right way."—The New York Times, May 2013