By Michael YEGHIAYAN
While many Laker fans were hoping to see Phil Jackson rejoin the team on the sidelines, the legendary coach will be at the Alex Theatre this month as part of its ongoing Live Talks Los Angeles series. The event, to be held on Wednesday, June 12, will feature Jackson discussing his memoir, “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success.”
As the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Chicago Bulls, Jackson’s 11 titles make him the winningest coach in NBA history and place him in the company of John Wooden and Vince Lombardi as one of the most celebrated coaches in American sports. “An Evening With Phil Jackson” will explore the mind and past of one of basketball’s most private and intriguing figures.
“He is given lots of credit with how well he managed the egos of basketball stars, and made some star players more team oriented,” said Live Talks producer Ted Habte-Gabr. “As fans, we all want a winning team, and we also want exciting athleticism and star players. He has balanced both probably better than anyone.”
Joining Jackson onstage will be former NBA player and talk show host John Salley, who will interview the coach. Salley, who won four championships over his career, played for Jackson on both the Bulls and Lakers in title winning seasons.
“An Evening With Phil Jackson” is the second event by Live Talks L.A. in a three part series at the Alex Theatre. Burt Bacharach spoke at the historic venue last month and novelist Neil Gaiman will make an appearance on June 27.
Jackson’s memoir “Eleven Rings” will also be available for purchase at the event. The book caused some controversy earlier this month because it draws comparisons between Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, two of the most prolific scorers in NBA history and the leaders of all one championship teams.
While Jackson found plenty of on-court success, much of his intrigue is related to his philosophy and approach to leadership.
“The idea of having a successful team making star players better team players is something every business and corporate setting strives for, so you have the business world interested in him as a management and leadership philosophy,” said Habte-Gabr. “The books he has recommended his players read over the years has always intrigued me.”
The “Zen master” may have coached his last game for the Lakers, but he will always hold a place in Los Angeles sports lore. Perhaps certain members of the Laker organization would be well suited to hear what he has to say.
“An Evening with Phil Jackson in conversation with John Salley” is on June 12 at 8 p.m. at the Alex Theatre. Tickets begin at $20. Information on purchasing tickets is available online at www.alextheatre.org or by calling (818) 243-ALEX (2539) Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon until 5 p.m. There is a service charge for phone orders.
The Alex Theatre is located at 216 N. Brand Blvd. in Glendale.