One of the great coaches in NBA history seems to be on his way out the door, and a member of coaching's next generation is sad to see him go.
"It's too bad," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said of Lakers coach Phil Jackson, whose career may have ended Sunday with a four-game sweep at the hands of the Mavericks. "He's the greatest coach maybe in all of American sports, forget just basketball. For a coach, I've been around the league, and gone against him as a player as well, you don't like seeing guys that have contributed to the game leave."
Jackson has said that 2010-11 would be his last season coaching the Lakers, but speculation has abounded that the 65-year-old NBA legend still has a few seasons left in him. It's unknown at the moment if the Zen Master will return to the game.
"I wouldn't be shocked to see him back, personally," Rivers said. "But I understand what he's doing."
Jackson won 11 rings in two decades, between 1991 and 2010. He captured six championships with Michael Jordan in Chicago and five more with Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles.
His Lakers were favored by many to cruise through the Western Conference again and reach their fourth straight NBA finals, but that quest came to a screeching halt in Dallas.
"I don't know if stunned would be the right word," Rivers said of his reaction to the Mavs' sweep. "It happens. After you're down 3-0, it gives everyone enough time to realize it can happen. But I think everyone was surprised. It was quicker than anyone saw it coming."
"You may wonder what happened, but Dallas just beat them," C's veteran Ray Allen added. "You've got to give Dallas credit. They played the way they wanted to play, and they kept the Lakers from being who they are. They exposed the weaknesses they have. That's the whole point of executing the playoff game plan."