Although Phil Jackson's time running the Knicks didn't go as well as he might have hoped, he remains one of the most revered coaches in sports history. He employed unconventional and effective methods for connecting with his players, and his triangle offense was revolutionary. It also certainly didn't hurt that he was able to coach some of the greatest players of all-time, including Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, and Scottie Pippen.
Two of those players—M.J. and Kobe—have been ceaselessly compared ever since Kobe Bean first emerged on the scene in 1996. They both played two guard, they both played with passion, they were both notoriously hard on their teammates, they both had the clutch gene, and they both valued winning above all. Even their mannerisms on the court were strikingly similar.
So, how does the Zen Master see the two all-time greats stacking up? He recently addressed that question at Domopalooza 2018 in Salt Lake City. Jackson said they both had their strengths. Among other things, Kobe played with fire, but Michael was open to coaching, which Jackson saw as a very valuable trait.
Jackson said if he ever took M.J. out of the game because he was being too aggressive on the offensive end, "He'd know what he'd done. He had a conscience." That, Jackson suggested, separated him from Kobe.
Jackson also commented on the Kobe-Shaq feud. "The reason Kobe was unhappy with Shaq was his drive," Jackson said. "Kobe believed Shaq didn't care enough about the game."
Jackson won two NBA titles as a player and 11 as a head coach.