Schmeelk: An Entry From Phil Jackson's Montana Journal
By John Schmeelk
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Note: This is supposed to be fun and not taken seriously. It is satire. This is a typical Phil Jackson day in Montana, told from his perspective.
In order to achieve balance with nature, one must adhere to the movement of the planet.
The warmth of the sun peeking through the partially curtained windows wakes me from my slumber. Sitting up in bed, I gaze briefly at the oil painting on the wall, the great Pythagoras, who brought initial understanding to the triangle.
Without a² + b² + c², there would be no triangle.
There is no morning without meditation. I sit cross-legged in the center of my garden, pondering the wonders of life and basketball. The movement of the ball from the pinch post to the endless cutters coming to and fro through the lane. It is system basketball that brings me joy, and with a smile, I prepare for my day.
Returning to the large cabin, I retrieve the newspaper, delivered that morning. The Warriors and Blazers combined for 79 3-point shots. An abomination!
It is only through the mid-range game that Zen can be achieved.
I look forward to the newspaper tomorrow, to learn what happened between the Spurs and Thunder. The loss of modern immediacy is a scant sacrifice for the synergy with nature that can be achieved here. I was raised without television, and the picture box is merely a distraction, noise to interfere with my true balance.
The only technology needed is the old reel-to-reel with footage from the Bulls' 72-win season, so I can gaze upon triangle perfection whenever I desire. But there is no time for that today.
MORE: Schmeelk: What Is Phil Jackson Doing In Montana?
Before the day's work can begin, there must first be the viewing of the rings. Set atop an oaken pedestal, near the window sit my 11 rings. They are arranged equidistant from one another in a perfect hendecagon.
Few know an eleven-sided shape is a hendecagon. This is the type of enlightenment my new coach must bring to the Knicks, and the game of basketball.
As the earth spins and tilts in relation to its loving mother, the sun, the time of the illumination changes. Today, it occurs just past 8. Light strikes the rings, concentrating into a weak laser, linking all of the rings together. No other coach can form the light hendecagon. Its glory will soon be shown upon the Knicks.
But it is still not complete. Eleven is prime, unfit for the triangle.
And when the light of the triangle is shown upon the Knicks, the hendecagon becomes a dodecagon and my basketball journey will be complete. Four triangles made one.
As the sun moves, shifting the morning light, the rings once again become stagnant, but remain as a reminder of the glory of system basketball, the greatest of all being the triangle. The owner of 11 rings, no one shall have the right to question the Zen Master.
To win and approach the game of basketball, one must immerse themselves, body and soul, in what they believe in. To do so, one must consult The Master.
I take a quick glance at the telephone, sitting dormant on the floor. James Dolan had sent it, given the unreliable cellphone signals throughout rural Montana. He wishes discussion and communication, as does Steve Mills. They do not understand the peace I have found here and my enlightenment that comes with solidarity.
To find peace and understand true purpose, all distractions must be eliminated.
So the phone sits there, unplugged. The cellphone, the last remaining Arrowhead phone created by the failed Sabre Corp. is the only phone I use. (Click here to see a photo of it.) The triangle is the only way to truly become one with the person you are trying to connect with. It is here the contact information for Tom Thibodeau is stored, waiting for my summoning. But today, even the Arrowhead remains silent.
It would be far simpler to use a device of modern convenience to reach The Master, but that is not the way of true connection. I will submerse myself in the triangle, and Tex Winter will find me. Sitting before the small scale models of the pyramids that sit upon the meditation table, which is oddly no more than a stack of my unsold books -- "Eleven Rings," "Sacred Hoops," "The Last Season," "More Than A Game," "Journey To The Ring," "Fifty Years of Cheers and Jeers" and "The Gospel According to Phil" with a wooden board from the United Center set on top of it. I drink my special concoction and lose myself.
I don't know how much time passes, but I find Tex Winter in the nether and listen to the wonders of his mind, the creator of the triangle, the salvation of the selfish basketball being played today. It is wondrous and will provide guidance moving forward.
Balls move … players move … it finds the net. It flows like a river, never ending nor beginning. It creates upon itself. The triangle has no beginning. It has no end. Its options are endless. It simply is. The triangle is Zen.
Daily, new revelations of the triangle are revealed to me, which I will bestow upon the Knicks. But alas, my body fails me. The weathering of my hips has made me weak. I have been betrayed by my own body, which is my duty to nurture. No longer can I coach and reveal the glory of the triangle to the masses from the sideline. It has forced me to undertake radical measures. These experiments have occupied most of my hours here, and it has brought me more frustration than serenity.
The basketball gods require me on the bench. With all my meditation and prayer, my body will not heal itself. The combination of roots, flowers and natural remedies have done nothing to repair this broken vessel. The local medicine man could offer no help. All attempts have failed at great cost. I cannot roam the sidelines again. So now, I must look elsewhere.
If one cannot find peace within oneself, look outwards.
Kurt Rambis will be my salvation. With no hope of a job offer from anyone that has been touched by the corrupting forces of the spread offense and playing small, he requires me to elevate him. But in him, I must also be elevated.
Our discussions of the triangle …
And may there be only three sides forever.
… are elementary, but they do bring me joy. His dull mind, relative to mine at least, cannot alone be allowed to carry out my vision. Communicating my wishes is not enough. I must be able to guide him from within. Total control.
All attempts to insert part of my spirit within his mind have failed. Even the corrupt spells of Dennis Rodman have been useless, as have the dark technologies of his sinister comrade, Kim Jong-un. I find myself helpless in charting the destiny of the Knicks.
Whether that destiny be isosceles, equilateral or right, acute or obtuse.
Bright minds such as David Blatt exist, but then the team would be his and not of my mind and spirit. Frank Vogel has shown the ability to win, but not be the transformational leader my basketball team requires. We are not simpatico. Win games they might, but not within the great system. Only I can provide such enlightenment, but only through a pupil willing to give himself to me.
Below the dirt and beneath the cabin, Rambis lay still, breathing steadily upon a stone slab in a small chamber. Only the watchful gaze of wise Tex Winter, painted in charcoal upon the wall, watches the two men. Nothing has worked, and his mind and body remain free of my control. It is only when I can exercise complete control that the basketball gods will be satisfied.
The music of the Grateful Dead echoes in the shallow chamber, trying to connect the two men. Whether it is real or simply a product of their subconscious, there is no way to know.
He has given himself to me, and yet I still cannot become one with him. I am weak.
Five hours later, Rambis still lay there, separated from my Zen. I know New York anxiously awaits word from Montana. I know they grow frustrated with my process. But I must lead this team, even if I am unable. I must find a way no matter the cost.
In the end, all glory must go to the triangle and he who implements it. The means must be justified so the glory comes not to Jordan, Pippen, Shaquille or Kobe, but rather to the triangle and he who operates it. We must form the dodecagon. We must do it together.
My bones creak as I ascend the stairs, the setting sun shining dull light through the window. Dusk is upon us, and another day is lost to time. In the morning, I must begin anew. Once I am successful, the Knicks can move forward with their spiritual leader molding every part of the team's soul. Only then, will New York have its transformational leader, and winning can occur.
But now it is time to rest, and my contemplation will continue.
For everything Knicks, Giants and the world of sports, follow John on Twitter at @Schmeelk
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