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NBA FINALS: THE COACHES

Their Resumes Are Impressive

Brown is already in the Hall of Fame; Jackson's list of titles should earn him a spot too.

June 06, 2004|Jerry Crowe | Times Staff Writer

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — One team in the NBA Finals will be guided by a Hall of Fame coach, an acclaimed master of the craft who two years ago was accorded a well-deserved place of honor in Springfield, Mass.

The other will have to make do with Phil Jackson.

In a circumstance made possible by the quirky rules of election to the Basketball Hall of Fame, Larry Brown is enshrined and Jackson is not.

Jackson's teams have won nine NBA championships.

Brown's haven't won any.

No knock on Brown, who has taken the Detroit Pistons to the Eastern Conference championship and whose Kansas team won the NCAA title in 1988, but Jackson is one of the most successful coaches in NBA history. Only Red Auerbach, the Boston Celtic patriarch and a Hall of Famer, coached as many NBA champions.

With the Lakers and Chicago Bulls, Jackson has won a record 174 playoff games, more than twice as many as Brown, who is tied for fourth on the all-time list with 82 playoff victories.

"That's very interesting," said Howie Davis, a spokesman for the Hall of Fame. "It's an amazing feat to have won nine NBA championships."

But coaches, Davis explained, are not eligible for nomination until after they've coached 25 seasons -- on the high school, college or pro levels. Jackson won't be eligible for the Hall until 2008 -- if he continues coaching. If he doesn't last 25 seasons, he won't be eligible for the Hall. Not as a coach, anyway.

But as a contributor, "somebody who has made a significant contribution to the sport of basketball," Jackson could be nominated at any time, Davis said. And, Davis noted, although no one has done it yet, anybody could nominate him. Even Jack Nicholson.

Brown probably would endorse Jackson.

"Not everybody wins with great players. We've got to understand that," Brown said. "He gets guys to play the way he wants them to play. And I think that's a tribute to him. They understand how he wants them to play, and they execute extremely well..

"Anybody that doesn't recognize his excellence and the success he's had is silly. When you win as many championships as he has, you've got to be doing it the right way."

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Coach Comparison

Comparing Lakers' Phil Jackson and Pistons' Larry Brown:

*--* JACKSON CATEGORY BROWN 9 NBA championships 0 174-65 NBA postseason 81-78 832-316 NBA regular season 933-713 1 NBA coach of the year 1 2 NBA/ABA head coaching jobs 7 N/A NCAA championships 1 N/A NCAA record 177-61 0 NCAA jobs 2 1 CBA championships N/A N/A USA Basketball 43-3 N/A Olympic gold medals 1 N/A Olympic gold medals as player 1 12 Seasons as pro player 5 1 NBA championships as player N/A

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