Way back in June, Phil Jackson agreed to come back for one more season with the Los Angeles Lakers. In his sights was another opportunity for an NBA championship and another shot at a three-peat.
Seems an eternity ago. So much has changed -- namely the rise of a certain formidable foe in the Eastern Conference. The Miami Heat's mega free-agent acquisitions of LeBron James and Chris Bosh -- teaming with Dwyane Wade -- have all the markings of an instant championship contender.
"They got great talent," Jackson said in an interview with ESPN 1000 in Chicago. "There's no question about their talent they have. But, talent doesn't always win. The team that shows the best teamwork will win it. We think that [the Lakers] have established something. But, if [the Heat] can unite -- and build quickly -- they might be able to do it."
Jackson teams have won 11 of the past 20 NBA title and the coach is always able to add a little historical perspective.
"I always refer to when Wilt Chamberlain was traded from Philadelphia to Los Angeles and that put [Elgin] Baylor, [Jerry] West and Chamberlain together -- three of the top scorers in NBA history -- and they never won a championship together the four years they were together," Jackson said.
"It's not always scorers and talent that wins it. But it's teamwork that does it."