Phil Jackson is irritated it took so long for Tex Winter to make the Hall of Fame
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson has long campaigned for Tex Winter to make it into the Hall of Fame. Now that it has happened, Jackson isn't entirely happy.
"For the past 15 years, there have been people telling me that Tex is going in the Hall of Fame," Jackson said Sunday. "When Tex was verbally and cognizantly capable of receiving this award, I would have been much happier. The fact now that he's had a stroke that's impaired his capabilities, it kind of irritates me a little bit that this wasn't done 10 years ago when he was still serving basketball in such a great capacity."
Jackson then added, "Still in all, I'm happy that it's been rewarded."
Winter suffered a stroke in April 2009 while attending a Kansas State basketball reunion in Manhattan, Kan.
The official Hall of Fame announcement will take place Monday in Houston before Butler plays Connecticut in the NCAA championship game.
Jackson credited Winter, 89, with providing the on-court template for his coaching career. Winter is the modern-day architect of the triangle offense, which Jackson has employed while winning 11 NBA championships.
Winter was part of Jackson's staff for six championship runs with Chicago in the 1990s and three with the Lakers in the early 2000s. Winter became a consultant with the Lakers after the 2003-04 season but had to step back from his duties after sustaining the stroke.
Jackson admired Winter's penchant to tell the truth, sometimes in scathing but constructive fashion.
Jackson also admired Winter's teaching from the ground up, starting with the "very basic beginning with basketball," Jackson said.
"Basketball starts with learning how to pick up the basketball and pivot," Jackson said, "and from there you move into passing and then the other things that become more complicated."
-- Mike Bresnahan
Photo: The Lakers' Tex Winter in 2001. Credit: Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times