According to Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register, former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March of 2011.
Jackson, who was coaching the Lakers at the time, chose to disclose the information to the team in May during a film session as some sort of motivational tactic, because the team was on the verge of being swept out the playoffs by the Dallas Mavericks.
The details of this shocking discovery can be found in Jackson’s upcoming book “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success.” Doctors assured Jackson that the disease would be controllable if he took prescribed drugs and that allowed him to have surgery after the season.
Lakers forward Pau Gasol recalls the atmosphere that engulfed the team after a teary-eyed Jackson dropped the bombshell.
“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.”
“As much as I love Phil and I appreciate everything about him,” Gasol said, “it was difficult to know.”
That was kind of an unusual motivational tool, but Jackson isn’t called the “Zen Master” because it sounds nice. While there is no doubt that a lot of emotion was involved, it was also a tactical move by Jackson to help the team avoid elimination.