Was Phil Jackson really going to head the Sonics’ front office if the Kings had moved to Seattle? There were rumors that the coach who has won 11 NBA championships was talking to Chris Hansen, but there was never any confirmation.
Jackson said in an interview that aired Thursday night on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” (at approximately the 1:20 mark of the video below) that he and Hansen had serious talks.
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Jackson was complimentary of Hansen, the hedge-fund manager who headed a group’s efforts to bring the NBA back to Seattle, although he didn’t mention him by name.
“I had communication with the guy that’s trying to make this move,” Jackson said when Leno asked him if he had discussed working for Hansen. “Serious talk. I thought he was a really good guy for the league, I thought he was going to be really terrific.”
Jackson also had good things to say about Seattle.
“I think Seattle’s a terrific town to have a basketball team,” he said. “They lost one, unfortunately. They wanted one back. It didn’t work out. The league wants to hold a team in Sacramento.”
That is little consolation for Seattle NBA fans, who were disappointed this week when the NBA Board of Governors voted to deny the Kings’ relocation to Seattle.
Maybe Jackson’s good-natured jab at Sacramento helps a little, though.
“I won’t be doing the job in Sacramento,” he told Leno. “I like Sacramento. Well, not that much …”
Jackson, there to promote his new book (“Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success”) also talked about NBA player Jason Collins coming out, not returning as the Lakers’ coach and picked the Miami Heat as “the odds-on favorite” to win a second straight NBA championship.
Jackson said he believes he is done with coaching and is only interested in a front-office position.
Doing that in Seattle seems to have been a strong possibility if Hansen had landed the Kings. Instead, Seattle NBA fans will have to wonder what might have been and hope for another chance at a team.
Don Shelton is sports editor of The Seattle Times.
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