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Phil Jackson's bare fingers

April 20, 2009 | 12:30 pm

Phil Jackson no ring_001

Okay, technically he's wearing a ring, but not the big, diamond-crusted championship hardware he usually sports during the playoffs.  Typically, the tradition is to wear his most recent piece of finger candy (that would be from 2002) once the postseason begins.  A visual and gemological reminder of the endgame, if you will.  Sunday, though, Phil Jackson arrived at his pregame press conference with (relatively) naked fingers. 

"I didn't wear it.  I was tired of wearing that ring.  I've been wearing it for seven years now, the same one," he said. 

Continuing, Jackson noted that LA is at a disadvantage when it comes to title jewelry. "Without a symbol, like an animal image or something, the Lakers are limited in what they can do.  You can write the word, you can put the trademark.  We put a triangle on one, that's probably the most gaudy of them all.  2002.  It kind of looks like a clown's face a little bit when you actually look at it.  Three triangles on it  2002 title ring that are placed like a nose and two eyes."

I'm counting four triangles- see left- though only three are diamond-filled. But I see his point.  Frankly, it's pretty ugly. 

For reference sake, here's a pic of '01 and '00.  Both are more attractive, on the relative sliding scale of championship ring gaudiness.

No surprise to see PJ left '02 at home, since he had mentioned getting a little tired of it (and Lord knows Kobe wants a fresh piece to add to the collection).  Seven years is a long time for a franchise like the Lakers. 

Of course, Kings fans would say the thing is cursed.  Lakers fans would say Sacramento won 17 games this season, so they might want to worry about their own bidness.  Either way, because rarely is anything PJ does accidental, there's probably some sort of intended psychological point to the exercise.  A call to stop living in the past and make a new legacy.  Or maybe he really did just get sick of it.  It's not like the Lakers actually need to see the thing to remind them that this year, the ring is the goal.  They can't possibly be that literal.

I'm more concerned about what should go on Jackson's fingers in the meantime. 

Any suggestions?  How about one of these Halloween favorites?  He could probably afford one of these.  While they'd convey the sense of toughness LA is trying to project this postseason, I believe these are illegal in California.