Phil Jackson on Kobe Bryant: 'Quite often I could feel his hatred'
The relationship between Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant has always been something out of the sixth episode of "Star Wars." One's the Emperor, the other Darth Vader. They got along out of necessity and mutual enemies. But in the end, there was always the possibility that they would turn on each other, all lightning-hands and everything.
There have been periods of detente, but the two are back to their cold war of late. Earlier in the year, Bryant was far from effusive in his praise for Jackson in an interview with GQ. And when asked about those comments, Jackson told Charley Rosen for ESPN.com that the tension between the two was palpable:
"'Ah, my good friend Kobe Bryant. ... Yes, quite often I could feel his hatred. I'm sure Kobe was pissed when I wrote in 'The Last Season' that he was uncoachable. And, yes, we were often at loggerheads."
In classic Zen Master style, he tried to take the high road out of the muck at the end of his answer:
"Anyway, I've always seen Kobe as a truly great player, an intelligent guy and a remarkable person."
Good one, Phil. Always compliment your adversary on the way out.