Lakers Coach Phil Jackson has routinely said he sees "the journey" to the NBA championship more important than the actual accomplishment.
"Journey to the Ring," a collaborative book between Jackson and NBA senior photographer Andrew D. Bernstein, vividly shows why that proclamation carries so much meaning. The book, which is scheduled to be released on Nov. 10, documents the Lakers' quest for the 2010 NBA championship, beginning with the first day of training camp and ending with the Lakers' victory parade.
Bernstein's black-and-white photography provides an intimate snapshot of all those trials and tribulations, with photos ranging from action shots, portraits and behind-the-scenes images. They're complemented with Jackson's captions, which features his witty and insightful recollections to the stories and circumstances behind each snapshot.
Bernstein shared his thoughts with me on the project as well as the concept behind some of the photos in the book.
Can you take me through how this project got started and how the idea came up?
Bernstein: After the 2009 championship and looking ahead toward the 2009-2010 season, there were rumblings that Phil might retire after that year. I had a really great relationship with him over the years having shot up to that point 10 championships, including six with the Bulls and four with the Lakers. I knew that it might be cool to do something on him as it being his last season with a behind-the-scenes documentary from beginning to end, whether it ended with a championship or not. It would be more of a record of Phil's last year. I proposed that to him and he in his non-committal way kicked around this thought and we kind of dropped it. Then once training camp started, I brought it up again. Of course he didn't say anything about it being his last year or anything, but he gave pretty much the green light to do behind-the-scenes coverage than I normally had done, which is a lot. He was able to give me a little bit more access and I went on a couple of more trips with them. As the year came together about midway through the season, it became apparent that this was more about the team and their journey then about their beginning of the season through however it was going to end. Whether or not it was going to be about Phil and his last season or the team, I wasn't really sure. But it started to gel more as a team-oriented project. I talked about that with him. Phil never said anything about this being his last year or not and we were all up in the air about it. So I didn't want to put my eggs in one basket, either.