Saturday, April 23, 2011

ESPN Abuses Phil Jackson's Legacy

Last night, I was tuned in to the NBA Playoff game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Orleans Hornets on ESPN. Sometime in the third quarter, the network displayed a stat graphic which compared the playoff careers of head coaches Phil Jackson (LAL) and Monty Williams (NOH). The games played and win column was absurdly one-sided for Jackson… but one stat on this box stood out above all.

When it said “NBA Titles Won” on the left, under Williams’ name, it said “0” and it said “10” under Phil Jackson’s name. Without even having to think about it, I immediately took to Twitter as I’d missed my opportunity to snap a photograph of it. Apparently I wasn’t the only to see this as numerous people had retweeted my comments… but I still don’t have a picture to back me up for substantial proof. So if anyone recorded the game last night, I’d appreciate you being able to supply a photograph for me.

First of all, even the simplest math and the most average NBA fan can reel off 6 championships Phil Jackson had in Chicago. The infamous two three-peats (1991-1993, 1996-1998) with Michael Jordan under his wing to give MJ his 6 rings… that’s basic knowledge. Then we know that he had another three-peat with the Los Angeles Lakers when Kobe and Shaq got their three rings (2000-2002). That brings our grand total up to 9 so far.

Then we have the 10th championship, 2 years ago when the Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic… the win elevated Jackson over Red Auerbach for most championships all-time for a head coach. It was “capped” off with Phil Jackson’s X hat.

Last year, Phil Jackson won his second championship of this run, which marked his 11th championship and 2/3 the way to his 4th three-peat. The reason he came back to coaching this year was so he could finish this three-peat.

I’ve seen Yahoo! post articles about backup Redskins running back Ladell Betts having his jersey read “Bettis”. I’ve seen articles where they shredded guys for having the wrong number on their jersey. I’ve seen guys seemingly castrated for wearing sneakers that weren’t a team color in the NBA. But we let ESPN get away with displaying this graphic last night that was not only false, but about the greatest coach the NBA has ever seen.

I’ve been finished with ESPN for some time now, and if it weren’t for the fact that they show playoff games or Monday Night Football, I’d not bother ever tuning in to their programming… but this mistake may have already sealed their fate. I’d be fine if I knew they had corrected themselves, but the announcers didn’t make a comment about it when it was displayed, or through the rest of the game, and I can’t find any official statement from ESPN where they apologize for the mistake.

And you cannot insist it was a typo… 11 is the same key… you’ve got to stretch for the 0 when typing 10. Just own up to this mistake, “worldwide leader in sports”!