YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Father May Not Know Best, but Jackson Does

November 21, 2000|T.J. SIMERS

My wife was the kind of mother who meant no when she said "no," and after putting the kids to bed did not allow them to get up for anything.

Fortunately for my children, I was their father.

If I got home from a basketball game after they had fallen asleep, I got 'em up so they could eat the candy I bought for them. Then I went to bed, and after the kids had come down from their sugar high, I imagine my wife joined me.

When I said "no," the kids knew it meant maybe, and when they got older and really good at reminding me how cute they were, no always became yes.

This brings me to Phil Jackson and the way he's bringing up Kobe Bryant.

Phil's my wife--maybe not as cranky or as fond of Hamburger Helper--but very much the same nit-picker with that "I know what's best for you" attitude. I have to catch myself from saying, "Yes, dear," every time I talk to him.


AS YOU KNOW, Phil's been real tough on the kid the last few weeks, going so far as to send him to the court without the ball the other night--and with the game on the line. Phil gave it instead to Isaiah Rider, which would be like Ward Cleaver giving the benefit of doubt to Eddie Haskell rather than the Beave.

It hurt Phil, of course, more than Kobe because the Lakers lost, but as he told everyone later, a coach must do what a coach must do to raise a superstar. That's what my wife said to me when she sent our kids to bed without supper, but I was the one who had to stay behind and eat the Hamburger Helper.

Now my wife calls it "timeout" when the kids are sent to their rooms for not behaving, while Phil has used his timeouts to send Kobe to the bench for playing out of control. I'd have to say in both cases this deeply troubles me, because I miss seeing the kids play and having a good time.

You've probably noticed that Phil has been critical of Kobe, using us in the media to get to Kobe. I guess you could say this separates Phil from my wife, who used to tell the girls, "Don't listen to your father."

OK, I know my wife's a great mother--because I have to go home tonight.

And I know Phil's a great coach because Michael Jordan said so. I admit if I were in command, the girls would be on the 10-year college party program and Kobe would be averaging 40 points a game for the sub-.500 Lakers, but all this emphasis on discipline sure isn't much fun.

I mean it's never made sense to me to make a bed if you're going to climb back in later the same day, and so I can understand why Kobe's not eager to pass the ball knowing it's probably going to come back to him to shoot. I'd want Kobe shooting, flashing that natural talent, and so I'd go a lot easier on him.

But Phil has all those rings, obviously knows what he's doing, and he got Jordan to say repeatedly: "It's important for me to get my teammates involved," waiting until the fourth quarter before taking the game over.

That's what this is all about, of course, molding and refining Kobe into another Jordan, and I would imagine at one time or another, Phil has told Kobe, "Someday you'll understand."

Of course, I'd probably handle things differently, and now that I think about it, that's probably why my wife never told my kids, "Just wait until your father gets home."


A WEEKEND AT Bernie's?

New York Yankee free-agent left-handed pitcher Denny Neagle was spotted Monday night dining with actor Jonathon Silverman of Bernie's and "The Single Guy" fame at a front-row table in the Arena Club at Staples Center watching the Clippers take on the New Jersey Nets.

Neagle, 32, was wearing Dodger blue--well, his shirt was blue and white--after spending the day talking business with Dodger executives, who are clearly in the market for pitching.


CLIPPER CENTER Michael Olowokandi scored 14 first-half points. The Basketball Hall of Fame, always interested in the impossible, will be notified.

Olowokandi finished the game with 14 points.


FRESHMAN TENNESSEE quarterback Casey Clausen, who played for Mission Hills Alemany High, passed for four touchdowns to beat Kentucky and improve his record to 5-0.

You might ask why he's not playing for either UCLA or USC, but he said he wanted to go to a "big-time football school."


I RECEIVED a copy of the L.A. Sports & Entertainment Commission calendar, which can be ordered by calling (213) 236-2361 and which is a great reference guide to track all athletic events scheduled here. For example, without the calendar you might have guessed the Jim Tracy Era was scheduled to begin April 1--a foolish assumption as it turns out. It begins April 2.


SO FAR FIVE of The Times' cast of thousands who write sports columns have weighed in on whether the Dodgers should acquire shortstop Alex Rodriguez. I guess some people here think the Dodgers need advice. The present count favors L.A. doing whatever it can to get him, 3-2.


Los Angeles Times Articles