Phil Jackson was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March 2011, the former Lakers? coach reveals in his new book. According to the O.C. Register, Jackson revealed the bad news to his team during the playoffs as what sounds like an attempt to motivate. (The story is behind a paywall, but a?Lakers? forum?has the full story.)
Jackson was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March 2011. After doctors assured him the cancer could be controlled by drugs temporarily, Jackson waited until after the season to undergo surgery.
Jackson decided to divulge his situation to his players when he sensed the team was lacking something in the playoffs.
?Shocking,? Pau Gasol said Saturday, remembering Jackson?s disclosure to the team. ?But then you also could understand certain moments of his demeanor, energy and involvement because of what he was going through health-wise. It explained certain things. It was a shock. A difficult moment for the team.?
Gasol said Jackson talked with team captains Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher privately before telling the whole team in a video session ? but Jackson was left second-guessing the revelation in which he became teary-eyed as he spoke ? the Lakers strangely fading in that series vs. Dallas.
Whatever Jackson?s motivation for telling his team, it sounds like they were understandably shaken by the news. Whenever Jackson told them, the team was done. The Lakers were eliminated from the 2011 Playoffs by the eventual champion Dallas Mavericks in a 4-game sweep. The series ended with a 122-86 blowout in Dallas that featured?Andrew Bynum?s flagrant foul on J.J. Barea.
Gasol allowed that it was different for the team to see Jackson ? ?such a big figure, the physical and spiritual leader of the team? ? as vulnerable.
?As much as I love Phil and I appreciate everything about him,? Gasol said, ?it was difficult to know.?
The good news ? for Jackson at least ? is that he must be feeling pretty good again. People say he is interested in coaching again and there is a rumor about every team in the league making a run at him for various positions.
[OC Register, LakersGround, USA TODAY Sports Images, h/t Herbie]