Los Angeles Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson should lay off the Funyuns and start laying down those retirement papers.
An angioplasty last Saturday sidelined Jackson for all of two days, instead of the rest of the summer. By golly, who does this Zen master think he is – the old Michael Jordan scoring 45 points with the flu against the Utah Jazz in the NBA Finals?
Jackson will ride the pine for tonight’s pivotal game five of the Western Conference Semifinals against the San Antonio Spurs at the SBC Center at 6:30, probably against the doctor’s wishes.
Maybe he should stay home for good. During the 110-95 Laker victory on Saturday, we all found out who really coaches the team: Jack Nicholson.
In case you missed it, Jack stepped on the Staples Center court and started screaming at referee Mark Wunderlich after L.A. center Shaquille O’Neal picked up his third foul with 7:56 left in the second quarter. Jack yelled at the three blind zebras, “I paid a lot of money for this seat. This is the NBA; you can’t tell me to sit down.” Damn straight.
The Lake Show ended the half with an 11-6 run to take a 50-36 lead. Jack calmed down, and L.A. cruised in the second frame.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how the Jack-of-all-coaches would operate.
1) “The Shining.” Jack knows who to use the axe on. “I’m not gonna hurt you, Wunderlich. I’m just gonna bash your brains in.” He’s got a bigger axe to grind after sissy boy Adrian Brody and his keyboard won the Oscar for Best Actor this year. Jack: “The piano wasn’t supposed to fall on Brody, officer. It must have slipped.”
2) “Batman.” This prankster will know how to rev up the charges: “A little song, a little dance, Tim Duncan’s head on a lance.”
3) “Anger Management.” Jack understands that when you want to push a few buttons, you push them all. “Fellas, if we lose again, I’m going to shower with you in the nude.” Jack institutes a “Fight a Zen Monk Night” every Tuesday. Kobe Bryant routinely scores 70 points on Tuesdays.
4) “Easy Rider.” Somebody needs to play the drunken entertainer when the champagne starts flowing at the end of the Finals. Jack will guzzle a few drinks and don the gold football helmet before reaching the podium. “They’re not scared of us. They’re scared of what we represent: freedom and another championship!”
5) “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Jack will teach Rick Fox how to punch. (Be afraid, Doug Christie. Be very afraid.) And he can recreate the greatest World Series moments during the offseason for injured players.
6) “Mars Attacks!” This coach can handle irate fans and impatient press: “One out of two superstars working for you ain’t bad.” And just before Jack gets run out of town by Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, he makes one final plea to the rest of the basketball world: “Why all this destruction? Can’t we work this out? Why can’t we just get along?”
Because it’s all part of the script, Jack. And sooner or later, you’ll be buried deeper than Jimmy Hoffa.