Phil Jackson in 1986: Knicks used to deflate basketballs for advantage

Members of the New York Knicks pose for a team photograph in 1975. Phil Jackson (No. 18) stands third from the left in the back row.

NBA Photos/NBAE/Getty Images

If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying. If you are cheating, it’s only cheating if everyone and/or the NFL says it is. That may one of the enduring lessons of Deflategate.

To wit, we’re going into the time machine to a Dec. 1986 article titled, "Skill could be cheating teams get away with," by Bulls.com writer Sam Smith, then a scribe for the Chicago Tribune. Former Knicks forward and current team president Phil Jackson, at that time a coach for the Albany Patroons of the CBA, discussed a particular "strategy" the undersized Knicks employed in the early 1970s, highlighted in the clip below: 

Here’s an excerpt (emphasis ours):

Sound familiar?

Nowadays, NBA team staffers take basketballs to the officials’ room before games where referees use a gauge to make sure balls are inflated to the required level of seven to nine PSI (ideally eight), according to the Dallas News.

Though the Zen Master took to Twitter Wednesday to explain that while the basketballs were on the softer side, they were not illegal: 

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