Phil Jackson says LeBron James ‘likes special treatment’

In a wide-ranging interview with ESPN's Jackie MacMullan, 13-time NBA champion and current New York Knicks president Phil Jackson shot down speculation that he may return to the Los Angeles Lakers and made some interesting comments about four-time MVP LeBron James, who Jackson describes as a “Rolls Royce.”

Jackson has taken criticism for his insistence that the Knicks use the triangle offense despite the team's continual struggles, but defended the system by explaining that his team has to play a unique brand of basketball due to the fact that they don't have a player of James' caliber.


“It's my feeling when everybody does the same damn thing it becomes, 'Who has the best Rolls Royce? Who has the best, fastest stock car in this race we are running?' So if you have LeBron, wow, we're going to do the same thing even though we don't have the Rolls Royce? You have to be unique. You have to have something no one else is doing to have genius in this game. It becomes an ownership. I don't care about the triangle. I care about systematically playing basketball.”

Jackson also reflected on James' relationship with Heat president Pat Riley, and told a story of a time during his tenure with the Heat where James expected “special treatment” from his bosses.

“When LeBron was playing with the Heat, they went to Cleveland and he wanted to spend the night. They don't do overnights. Teams just don't. So now (coach Erik) Spoelstra has to text Riley and say, 'What do I do in this situation?' And Pat, who has iron-fist rules, answers, 'You are on the plane, you are with this team.' You can't hold up the whole team because you and your mom and your posse want to spend an extra night in Cleveland.

I always thought Pat had this really nice vibe with his guys. But something happened there where it broke down. I do know LeBron likes special treatment. He needs things his way.”

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