Posted on July 9, 2024

Phil Jackson on Race Differences He Saw in Players’ Approach to the Game: “White Players Are More Often Willing to Work Collectively”

Damien Peters, Basketball Network, July 4, 2024

Phil Jackson is arguably the most decorated coach in NBA history, and it’s safe to say he saw it all during his time on the sidelines and in NBA front offices. {snip} Interestingly, according to him, the biggest hurdle he had to navigate was the different approaches he saw between white and black players throughout his journey.

Opening up in his book “Mindgames: Phil Jackson’s Long Strange Journey,” the 11-time NBA champion detailed the differences he saw between races early in his coaching career.

“White players are more often willing to run patterns and to work collectively. Because of the predominance of blacks in pro basketball, the sport is rapidly disintegrating into a one-on-one sport. There are only five or six NBA teams who play with more than a superficial degree of team unity,” Phil said.

“Black kids growing up want to be the superstar of their neighborhood. They want to be the toughest kids on the block, the richest, or, once they get to the playground, the best one-on-one basketball players. White kids, on the other hand, usually are raised in a more homogenous environment, which provides other outlets for personal expression,” he added.


{snip} Phil seemingly felt that while black players had more natural talent, white players had superior preparation and attention to detail in the early years of being on the sidelines.