Pau Gasol and Phil Jackson keep in touch [Video]
It was Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Dallas Mavericks. Phil Jackson was irate and the focus of his fury was Lakers forward Pau Gasol.
Gasol was experiencing a dip in offensive production and his defense appeared lackluster. In an attempt to fire up the wallowing forward, Jackson went off on a tirade and aggressively -- and very publicly -- provoked Gasol by poking him in the chest.
That would be enough to sour many player-coach relationships, but not theirs.
At the Lakers practice facility Wednesday, Gasol said that he and Jackson have seen each other "a couple of times" since season's end and he expects to "have more contact."
Gasol said the two men have discussed the events that transpired last season and have also delved into "personal stuff."
"I think we both have a great appreciation for each other," he added.
Jackson retired after the Lakers were swept out of the playoffs by the Mavericks. Since Jackson had an unceremonious ending to his storied career, is there a chance that he could make a comeback?
It's unlikely, but when reporters asked Gasol how Jackson was handling life after basketball, Gasol surmised that it wouldn't be easy for such an accomplished man to step away from his passion.
"I'm sure it's hard," Gasol said. "He's been doing a thing for so many years, so successfully, and so passionately, and now he's, I don't know, he's taking a break or finally retiring for good and moving on."