The 35 Most Inspirational Phil Jackson Quotes

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Phil Jackson is an American and former basketball player and coach who is famous for attaining the top winning percentage as a coach. Phil Jackson grew up in an environment where sports was the only choice and another form of entertainment including television was prohibited.

Basketball was the sporting activity that enchanted him as soon he began playing for “New York Knicks” and becoming one of the top substitutes. Phil Jackson was a hardworking basketball player with great intelligence about the play but he was not fortunate to become a superstar.

After retiring from basketball, Jackson turned towards coaching where he began as an assistant coach for New Jersy Nets. He later served as an assistant coach for the Chicago bulls and his intellect game command made him the head coach. He would later become very influential in the game due to his innovative strategies as well as an integrated approach to coaching.

Phil Jackson’s leadership skills have helped several key players acknowledge their talent and this enabled his team to win 6 championships.

Below is a collection of the most notable sayings and quotations by this stunning basketball coach which have been derived from his interviews, work, writings, and life. These quotes will surely motivate you to work hard to achieve your dreams!

Phil Jackson Quotes

1. “I think there’s something about wanting to stand in the spotlight. I think the ball is a spotlight, for example, and I think they want to stand in that. I a lot of times see – LeBron is a guy that vacillates between wanting to do that and then wanting to get somebody else involved.”– Phil Jackson.

2. “When I was young, I was dedicated to become a minister – my brothers and I were formally brought in front of the congregation in a dedication ceremony, where we were dedicated to the future service of God.”– Phil Jackson.

3. “There’s a lot of chatter in basketball and, rightfully, you want players to be talking to each other… But sometimes in practice, it gets too verbose… so I tried to take things out of the ordinary and make them special so they’d understand the difference.”– Phil Jackson.

4. “The most we can hope for is to create the best possible conditions for success, then let go of the outcome. The ride is a lot more fun that way.”– Phil Jackson.

5. “The unconscious mind is a terrific solver of complex problems when the conscious mind is busy elsewhere or, perhaps better yet, not overtaxed at all.”– Phil Jackson.

6. “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”– Phil Jackson.

7. “We have a lot of players at that position and, obviously, we’ve got to make cuts soon. Our desire is to find a place for him and a good opportunity for him and Charlotte was a team that really and truly did want him.”– Phil Jackson.

8. “We remind our players that this is something that was a special night in a heated situation but it’s not going to be a steady diet for us. The onus on Kobe is to stay inside the team offense. The onus on the players is to pick it up a little bit better.”– Phil Jackson.

9. “It seems like they played really hard against Sacramento, didn’t they? That was their other opponent they had an option to play. It would seem like they want to choose us.”– Phil Jackson.

10. “He was a great student and a really fine leader on the basketball court. He directed a lot of what happened, he was very much one of the reasons why we were successful over those six championships.”– Phil Jackson.

11. “I don’t see how you’re going to get value out of this player who, in my estimation, is one of the most valuable players in the league. Of course, I estimate him perhaps higher than other people. I think he’s a terrific player. He adds a big dimension in every game he plays in.”– Phil Jackson.

12. “Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us.”– Phil Jackson.

13. “To inspire the players, I adapted a quote from Walt Whitman and taped it on their lockers before the first game of the playoffs, against the Miami Heat. “Henceforth we seek not good fortune, we are ourselves good fortune.”– Phil Jackson.

14. “For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the message was lost. For want of a message the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.”– Phil Jackson.

15. “My mother’s families were Mennonites or Anabaptists that came to Minnesota from Russia. They were actually moving around Europe doing diking and lowland reclamation work, and they moved into Minnesota.”– Phil Jackson.

16. “For us tall people, the whole key is that your hips and your knees should form a right angle when you sit down. That’s where backs and hips get to be problems for big guys.”– Phil Jackson.

17. “My father was the superintendent of the churches in the state of Montana. He was content in his beliefs. He befit the term ‘true Christian.’ He would turn the other cheek. He was truly a man of peace.”– Phil Jackson.

18. “Basketball is a sport that involves the subtle interweaving of players at full speed to the point where they are thinking and moving as one.”– Phil Jackson.

19. “An acrobatic dunk will make it onto Sports Center. A simple, unspectacular bounce pass in the rhythm of the offense will not. System basketball has been replaced by players who want to be the system.”– Phil Jackson.

20. “My philosophy is that you don’t motivate players with speeches, you have motivated players that you draft. That’s where they come in and those are the guys that are competitive. You can not teach competitiveness.”– Phil Jackson.

21. “I was also moved by William James’s The Varieties of Religious Experience, which not only helped me put my childhood experience in perspective but also showed me how my search to find a new, more authentic spiritual identity fit within the vast landscape of American culture.”– Phil Jackson.

22. “Rather than squeeze everybody into preordained roles, my goal has always been to foster an environment where the players can grow as individuals and express themselves creatively within a team structure.”– Phil Jackson.

23. “What’s more, obsessing about winning is a loser’s game: The most we can hope for is to create the best possible conditions for success, then let go of the outcome.”– Phil Jackson.

24. “In the West we tend to think of compassion as a form of charity, but I share Lao-tzu’s view that compassion for all beings—not least of all oneself—is the key to breaking down barriers among people.”– Phil Jackson.

25. “NBA is not exactly the friendliest environment for teaching selflessness. Even though the game itself is a five-person sport, the culture surrounding it celebrates egoistic behavior and stresses individual achievement over team bonding.”– Phil Jackson

26. “Approach the game with no preset agendas and you’ll probably come away surprised at your overall efforts.”– Phil Jackson.

27. “As much as we pump iron and we run to build our strength up, we need to build our mental strength up… so we can focus… so we can be in concert with one another.”– Phil Jackson.

28. “And yet as a coach, I know that being fixated on winning (or more likely, not losing) is counterproductive, especially when it causes you to lose control of your emotions. What’s more, obsessing about winning is a loser’s game: The most we can hope for is to create the best possible conditions for success, then let go of the outcome. The ride is a lot more fun that way.”– Phil Jackson.

29. “Edwin Markham’s “Outwitted”: He drew the circle that shut me out— Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout. But love and I had the wit to win: We drew a circle that took him in!”– Phil Jackson.

30. “We couldn’t overcome a tough shooting game for Kobe. They threw an extra man at him, and we didn’t make good adjustments. Offensively, I don’t think we grasped the concepts of what we are trying to do here.”– Phil Jackson.

31. “He is still a long ways from being smooth in what we anticipate will be a system that he’ll take to and enjoy, … It’s going to take him a while, as it will everybody, especially a guy who’s a lead guard in a situation like that. It takes some time.”– Phil Jackson.

32. “This trip, you’ve got to do a lot of PR work for the league, pump up that Miami game on Christmas Day because they’re asking you to do this all the time. And don’t forget, Orlando is just as important in the win-loss column.”– Phil Jackson.

33. “I probably would have no capability of absorbing a 60-defeat season as a coach. It would be a foreign experience. My whole career, even as a player, has been on winning basketball clubs and it just seems to have been a part of the make-up of what’s been given me. That’s what I’ve been given and that’s what I’ve had to deal with. Some people can make fun of it or some people can have a good time with it, or some people can resent it. It’s just what it is.”– Phil Jackson.

34. “For some reason, God is telling me to move on, and I must move on,” he said. “People have to learn that nothing lasts forever.” Then we tried to figure out a way that he could compete in the playoffs without playing.”– Phil Jackson.

35. “After years of experimenting, I discovered that the more I tried to exert power directly, the less powerful I became. I learned to dial back my ego and distribute power as widely as possible without surrendering final authority.”– Phil Jackson

See quotes from other basketball legends: Larry Bird and Lebron James

Phil Jackson Video – The Story Behind the Chicago Bulls Dynasty

This is an excellent short documentary about Phil Jackson, Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan’s and the story behind the Chicago Bulls Dynasty.

If you are, or were, a Chicago Bulls fan, you will LOVE this video!

Summary

Phil Jackson was an amazing coach who had a perfect command for the basketball game leaving a great legacy. His passion for basketball was noticeable from his young age thus a great talent that turned into the most influential basketball coach.

Jackson left a trail to be emulated by the future generation in every team he participated in basketball, either as a player or as a coach. Phil Jackson believed in hard work and was perfect at nurturing talents thus the unmatched success in the teams he coached. These quotes will help inspire you to be more successful in life.

And if you like video games and the NBA, be sure to see our NBA Jams Quotes

Enjoy!

Image Credit: Keith Allison, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

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