Phil Jackson joined the New York Knicks in 2014. There was initially a lot of optimism that he and Carmelo Anthony would come together in a positive manner, but all that hopefulness dissipated relatively quickly.
For whatever reason, they simply couldn’t get on the same page – leading to ill-will and bad-blood that continues to live on to this day.
A few months ago, four years after his ill-fated tenure with the Knicks came to a close, Jackson blasted Anthony in an interview as the reason for his failures.
“Carmelo, I think, wanted to be a leader, but I don’t think he completely knew how to be a leader as a player,” he said during an episode of “The Curious Leader” podcast. “And I think that the strength of his personality was intimidating to some of the coaches that were asked to coach the team.”
This week, Anthony appeared on the All The Smoke podcast and fired some shots back at Jackson.
“When Phil came, he was just like, he cut that line of communication off me from the Front Office, from the staff members, even players! You know what I’m saying?” Anthony said. “The minute that I knew that was the game that was being played, like Nah!”
Anthony was then pressed on whether he ever had any sort of sit down or anything with Jackson to attain some level of closure.
LaMelo Ball emerges as an early frontrunner for the 2021-22 NBA MVP Award. https://t.co/sSeA2JNkAf
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“Nah,” he replied. “I mean, I don’t need closure. You understand there’s no… I stood tall to him during my time. It is what it is. You feel the way that you feel about me. You say what you gotta say about me.
“I know if I had a sit-down with you, you wouldn’t say that. You would say something totally different. You’re gonna tell me something like oh it wasn’t like that. I ain’t really got time for that. I don’t need it at this point.”
So who’s right and wrong in this rivalry? It’s hard to say. What isn’t hard to say, however, is that Jackson’s reputation has taken quite the hit over the last decade. Between his mishandling of Anthony, his botched run with the Knicks, and claims by his former player that he’s a racist – the 13-time champ has seen better days.