You can’t talk about the NBA without talking about Phil Jackson, as his name is almost synonymous with the sport. He had a long and storied career with the league, though his net worth pales in comparison to his legacy as a coach and mentor. In 1967, Jackson’s basketball career began as a power forward with the New York Knicks, playing with the team for 12 seasons and winning two championships in 1970 and 1973. Later, he was the head coach for the Chicago Bulls during their glory days, from 1989 to 1998, leading the team to six NBA championships.
After that, Jackson was the head coach for the Los Angeles Lakers from 1999 to 2004 and then again from 2005 to 2011, during which time the team won five NBA championships. After retiring for good as a coach in 2011, Jackson was the president of the New York Knicks from 2014 until he stepped down in 2017, per the New York Times.
Jackson is a record-breaker himself — he broke Red Auerbach’s previous record of nine championships with his 11 wins as a coach. Jackson also holds the record for most combined championships as player and coach, with a total of 13, per the NBA archives. He was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2007. Basketball is obviously his passion, but it’s also a lucrative career path. And Jackson definitely raked in the dough.
Phil Jackson's net worth is as robust as his legacy
There are generations of people who grew up watching Phil Jackson play ball and lead some of their favorite NBA legends to championships, which is an impressive feat. It’s also a great way to make a living. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Jackson is worth an estimated $70 million, amassed as a player, coach, and executive in the NBA.
That kind of cash is nothing to scoff at, something his large family probably appreciates. Jackson has a total of five children with two wives, and eight grandchildren, per Heavy. He was married to Maxine Jackson from 1967 to 1972 and had one daughter, Elizabeth, and then married his second wife, June Jackson in 1974. They had four children together — Chelsea, Brooke, Ben, and Charlie — before divorcing in 2000.
Later, he would date Jeanie Buss, the daughter of Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss, who he met in 1999 when he was coaching there. They were engaged to be married, but called it off on Twitter in 2016. Buss told espnW about their 17-year relationship, “He and I worked well together. During that time, the 12 or so years that he coached the Lakers, I really got into the role of team mom, being the coach’s wife. I got to see another side of basketball that I hadn’t seen — that what Phil tries to create is a family.”
Phil Jackson is known as the 'Zen Master'
Phil Jackson isn’t exactly known for his money, though he has a ton of it. He’s most beloved for his coaching style, which had a holistic approach that was heavily influenced by Eastern philosophy. He wrote in his book, Sacred Hoops, that he used Native American spiritual practices in his coaching and that Robert Pirsig’s book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance heavily influenced his personal life and his coaching style.
Jackson would ask his players to meditate and use visualization in practice, per the HuffPost. For example, the outlet reported that he made Lakers guard Tyronn Lue wear a sleeve during practice during the 2001 NBA finals. The point was for the players to really let it sink in what it felt like to defend against Allen Iverson, the iconic Philadelphia 76ers guard, who always wore sleeves during games.
He’s also known for using Bulls assistant coach Tex Winter’s triangle offense, which many credit for helping the Chicago Bulls win their first championship, per CBS News. The offense promotes teamwork by forcing the players to read each other better and use their instincts when it comes to passing and cutting, instead of relying on play calls, as documented in the ESPN documentary about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls (via USA Today).
It’s little things like this that made Phil Jackson a legend on NBA courts — and a ton of money in the bank.
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