Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson during a game in 1997. | Copley News Service

Phil Jackson assigned Knicks players to read up on Michael Jordan’s legacy

SHARE Phil Jackson assigned Knicks players to read up on Michael Jordan’s legacy
SHARE Phil Jackson assigned Knicks players to read up on Michael Jordan’s legacy

Phil Jackson has long been a proponent of required reading.

The former Bulls and Lakers coach used to buy books for all of his players to read before long, winter road trips. For example, according to the L.A. Times in 2010, he bought Kobe Bryant “Montana 1948,” a novel about a middle-class Montana family torn apart by a scandal in the 1940s.

Pau Gasol, according to the same L.A. Times article, was given “2666,” a nearly 1,000-page novel by Roberto Bolano, focusing on hundreds of unsolved murders in northern Mexico.

Now president of the Knicks, Jackson has kept the tradition of required reading alive. Last year, instead of giving players specific books to read, he gave every player a copy of Sam Smith’s “There Is No Next,” an oral history of Michael Jordan’s NBA legacy.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Jackson hoped it would teach his players to bring the right intensity to the game.

Last year, Jackson gave each of the Knicks a copy of There Is No Next, Sam Smith’s latest read on Michael Jordan’s legacy. He said he wanted the players, especially Carmelo Anthony, to grasp the level of intensity needed to be a champion.

Jackson, according to the Journal, doesn’t read as much anymore since he isn’t going on trips, but he still says a book is “something that can grab [the players’] attention when it’s good or in their zone.”

The article was accompanied by a list of books Jackson has given to past players, including members of the 1990s Bulls.

Have a look:

Michael Jordan: “Song of Solomon” (Toni Morrison)

Scottie Pippen: “The Ways of White Folks” (Langston Hughes)

John Paxson: “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” (Robert M. Pirsig)

Craig Hodges: “Way of the Peaceful Warrior” (Dan Millman)

Stacey King: “Beavis and Butt-Head: This Book Sucks” (Mike Judge)

Derek Fisher: “Soul on Ice” (Eldridge Cleaver)

Kobe Bryant: “Montana 1948” (Larry Watson)

Shaquille O’Neal: “Siddhartha” (Hermann Hesse)

Adam Morrison: “Che: a Graphic Biography” (Spain Rodriguez and Paul Buhle)

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