It was a heartwarming scene at MSG on Tuesday.
Phil Jackson is back with the New York Knicks as team president for a boatload of loot. The once all-elbows, back-up forward/center from the glory days is finally back home where it all began.
Jackson's mission is simple: build a team to win an NBA championship for a franchise that hasn't won a title since Jackson left Eighth Ave in 1973.
Talk about your mission impossible.
Many fans will embrace the idea of Jackson being in charge simply because they are desperate. Plus, Jackson is a big name. New Yorkers love that.
And, Jackson comes with 11 NBA titles in his back pocket.
Sadly, all the hardware won't make a difference.
At this point, for all we know, Jackson could wind up being the NBA's Matt Millen, the worst GM in pro sports history.
Millen came to Detroit with four Super Bowl rings as a player. It told everyone that Millen was a winner. For sure, it was impressive for the Lions' organization, which has won just one playoff game since 1957.
But Jackson and Millen shared one thing at the time both took over championship-desperate teams.
No experience. None. Zilch. Nada.
Go ahead, pooh-pooh it. Act as if it doesn't matter when taking over a team's front office.
“This is an opportunity, that's what I look at it as, not as a possible failure chance,” said Jackson, who signed a five-year, $60 million deal at age 68, “just a wonderful opportunity to do something that I love, be with a basketball team, hopefully create a team that loves each other, plays with each other.”
For sure, Jackson said all the right things. He said he was tied to personnel moves when he was a coach, so he's not totally inexperienced.
Jackson — who won six titles in Chicago and five in L.A. with the Lakers — said there's no better place to win than in NYC.
More brownie points with fans.
Jackson even said he was going to move to New York, actually be around and not mailing it in from the sun and sand of Cali.
Isn't that nice, too.
The only thing he left out of the press conference was what he's going to do to turn things around and how long will it take the Knicks to win the championship. Currently, the clock is at 41 years and counting.
First, there have been only four players to win a title as both a player and executive — Jerry West, Mitch Kupchak, Joe Dumars and Danny Ainge.
Hence, it doesn't happen often.
Worse, not many teams have an actual chance at winning it all in The Association. In fact, since 1980, there have only been nine franchises to hoist that trophy. That's right, less than a third of the league in 34 seasons.
It's hard to win a title in the NBA, even with a good team.
“Championships come with some deliberate action,” Jackson said. “There are very few accidential championships in the NBA.
“We know that. We look forward to attempt that. And this would be a pinnacle. It would be a capstone on the remarkable career that I've had.”
Jackson even had to acknowledge that he might not be able to do all the high school and college scouting most GMs do. Physically, he's just not able to get around that easily.
“I know that's kind of a place where you can get talent and we're going to do that type of thing,” he said.
First, Jackson has to convince Carmelo Anthony to re-sign this summer. Then, he has to wait until summer 2015 in order to add other big piece to Melo via free agency.
You want to believe Jackson has the interest and energy to follow this through, especially with a meddling owner in James Dolan.
But then, there's a gut feeling it won't end in the fairy tale it sounds like with Jackson tying a nice big bow on his career winning a title in the city he won his first two as a player.
It simply feels more like a con job, a money grab.
Can't blame Jackson. Why not grab three checks at the same time — pension, social security and a fat Knicks' check as well.
Plus, Jackson won't tarnish his legacy one bit. Everyone knows he's won the most championships as coach, a record that isn't going anywhere soon.
It will just prove that Jackson isn't any smarter that the countless others who have tried before him.