Phil Jackson absolutely belongs in the conversation as one of the greatest coaches ever, in any sport, and at any level. He might even be the best coach of all time.
What the “Zen Master” accomplished from the sidelines is nothing short of legendary, and his massive bank account proves it.
Throughout his Hall of Fame coaching career, Jackson won 11 NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. He coached superstar players such as Michael Jordan and the late Kobe Bryant. He even won two titles as a player himself with the New York Knicks.
Nobody has won more NBA titles than Jackson, and the now-75-year-old left the game of basketball for good with enough money for his entire family to retire on.
Phil Jackson’s Playing Career
Philip Douglas Jackson calls Deer Lodge, Montana his birthplace. He was born less than two weeks after World War II ended to Charles Jackson and Elisabeth Funk. Jackson then became a star basketball player at Williston High School in North Dakota.
In his early life, he won two state titles in high school and eventually played for head coach Bill Fitch at the University of North Dakota.
Jackson was an All-American at UND and twice named the North Central Conference Most Valuable Player. He was eventually selected in the second round (No. 17 overall) in the 1967 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks, where he was named to the NBA All-Rookie team and won championships in 1970 and 1973.
Over 13 NBA seasons with the Knicks and New Jersey Nets, Jackson, a 6-foot-8 power forward, was fine role player. He averaged 6.7 points and 4.3 rebounds during his career and even was an assistant coach on the Nets during his final seasons as an NBA player.
That ultimately sparked his interest in coaching, but it took him a while to find a job back at the highest level in the United States.
Phil Jackson’s Coaching Career
Phil Jackson always wanted to coach in the National Basketball Association. It just took him a few years to get there. Then finally, after leading the Continental Basketball Association’s Albany Patroons for a few seasons, Jackson landed a job with the Chicago Bulls under head coach Doug Collins.
When Collins was fired in 1989, Jackson was promoted to head coach and began implementing Tex Winter’s triangle offense. From there, his career took off in a big-time way.
For the next decade, Jackson won six NBA championships with the Bulls, including two three-peats. He left the Bulls after the 1998 season and returned to the sidelines to coach the Los Angeles Lakers in 1999.
Jackson led the Lakers to yet another three-peat with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant leading the way. He won two more championships with Bryant after a short hiatus due to a possible spat between Jackson and the star player. His last season was in 2011. He retired with one NBA Coach of the Year honor and on Amos Alonzo Stagg Coaching Award.
Jackson has one of the highest winning percentages in NBA history with 1,185 wins and 485 losses during his career.
Phil Jackson in the Front Office
Phil Jackson became the President of the New York Knicks in 2014 after signing a lucrative five-year $60 million contract. It never really worked out as anyone hoped, however, and the two sides agreed to part ways after the 2016-17 season.
Phil Jackson Net Worth & Personal Life
Phil Jackson is known as a former professional basketball player and basketball coach with a record 13 NBA championships. His personal life hasn’t been in the same spotlight.
Jackson has been married and divorced twice with women named Maxine and June. He was also engaged to Jeanie Buss — the daughter of Lakers owner Jerry Buss — before their relationship ended in 2016.
The Zen Master has five children (Brooke, Chelsea, Elizabeth, Ben, and Charlie), and eight grandchildren.
Today, Phil Jackson’s estimated net worth is valued at $70 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
This post was originally published on April 17, 2020.