The Last Season: A Team in Search of Its Soul

( 25 )

Overview

For the countless basketball fans who were spellbound by the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2003–2004 high-wire act, this book is a rare and phenomenal treat. In The Last Season, Lakers coach Phil Jackson draws on his trademark honesty and insight to tell the whole story of the season that proved to be the final ride of a truly great dynasty. From the signing of future Hall-of-Famers Karl Malone and Gary Payton to the Kobe Bryant rape case/media circus, this is a riveting tale of clashing egos, public feuds, contract ...

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Overview

For the countless basketball fans who were spellbound by the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2003–2004 high-wire act, this book is a rare and phenomenal treat. In The Last Season, Lakers coach Phil Jackson draws on his trademark honesty and insight to tell the whole story of the season that proved to be the final ride of a truly great dynasty. From the signing of future Hall-of-Famers Karl Malone and Gary Payton to the Kobe Bryant rape case/media circus, this is a riveting tale of clashing egos, public feuds, contract disputes, and team meltdowns that only a coach, and a writer, of Jackson’s candor, experience, and ability could tell. Full of tremendous human drama and offering lessons on coaching and on life, this is a book that no sports fan can possibly pass up.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
On paper, the 2003-4 Los Angeles Lakers were a coach's dream. Coach Phil Jackson's Lakers owned towering center Shaquille O'Neal and power guard Kobe Bryant, the most dynamic duo in the game and the core of the team that had snatched three of the previous four NBA championships. To strengthen their ranks, L.A. had added future Hall of Famers Karl Malone and Gary Payton to the already star-studded roster. But all was not well in La-La Land. Before the season was over, "team leaders" Shaq and Kobe had exchanged insults and disparaging second-guesses in the press; Bryant was arrested on felony sex charges; and Jackson's well-laid game plans had disintegrated in the midst of media frenzy, salary disputes, and a general team meltdown. As one fan put it, "The team doesn't need a coach; it needs a psychiatrist." In The Last Season, the ever-reflective nine-time NBA championship coach offers an insider's view of a dream team's nightmare.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143035879
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/27/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 254,925
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.04 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson is one of the greatest coaches in the history of the NBA. In his fourteen seasons as a head coach, he is 832-316, the best winning record in NBA history. He also holds NBA coaching records for most playoff wins and playoff winning percentage. Prior to coaching, he played thirteen years in the NBA, primarily with the New York Knicks. He is also the author of Maverick, Sacred Hoops, and, with his friend Charley Rosen, More Than a Game.

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Interviews & Essays

An Interview with Phil Jackson

Barnes & Noble.com: What made you want to write this book?

Phil Jackson: I had a personal blog on my computer, and in discussions with my agent, Jennifer Walsh from William Morris, about writing some books, my journaling came up. (I had an abbreviated journal published in Sport Magazine in 1984 while coaching with the Albany Patroons of the Continental Basketball League.) Jennifer implored me to write the journal entries as a publication because it was a story in the making. In analyzing the entries I had made up until December, I realized how right she was, but it became more than that to me. Journaling is a great outlet for a coach, detailing the emotional roller-coaster ride that is a long NBA season. It also serves as a timeline for looking back upon situations that cropped up during the season. But for me, it was a chance to really capture the last season of my contract and what the toll was/is for me physically, emotionally, and spiritually to be in the world of the NBA.

B&N.com: What is the meaning of the subtitle? Is finding a team's soul, so to speak, a key to your coaching?

PJ: My joy in coaching has been watching a group of two dozen men work together as staff and players to become a unit. There is a process of adjustment when the players take on roles and fit together as a team and the staff learns how to use the players' abilities, and the training staff finds a way to keep the team in good physical and mental health. The final piece is the spiritual health that brings a team together in esprit de corps. We failed to bring that spiritual element together as a team in The Last Season.

B&N.com: What is the major theme of the book?

PJ: The theme is how personal troubles and problems are finally shelved to make a run at an NBA title. The drama is how far can this team go with its fragmented personalities?

B&N.com: What is your coaching philosophy?

PJ: All of my former coaches have influenced my coaching style. Red Holzman of the New York Knicks was a great influence on my management style. Tex Winter is and was a mentor for me in tactics and fundamentals that led to me using a system he espoused with the sideline triangle offense. Bill Fitch was my college coach and had a great influence on me with his defensive philosophy and pressure defensive beliefs. There is plenty of basketball strategy in The Last Season.

B&N.com: When you coached those great Chicago Bulls teams, you were known for giving each player a book to read during the season. Did you follow that technique with your last Lakers team, and why do you do that?

PJ: Yes. I gave books to my players every year I coached. Usually those books were personally chosen for the players or staff member, but last year I gave them all Pat Conroy's book My Losing Season. I wanted them to read about a basketball team described by a "player" from my era (1967) and the effects and memories associated with losing.

B&N.com: How would you compare this last Lakers team you coached with the last Chicago team that you coached -- the one that beat the Jazz for the title?

PJ: The two teams were totally different. Styles I used coaching the Bulls had to be discarded, and new ways of dealing with this team were necessary.

B&N.com: You have won nine world championships, tied with Red Auerbach, but many people rank you higher since you won yours in an NBA that had about three times as many teams and a much longer playoff schedule. Would you like to come back as a coach and go for the tenth title?

PJ: I'm so glad I got a chance reach the "top of the mountain," in basketball terms, ten times. The last chance didn't click, but what a great opportunity personally for me to coach such great teams. I have no driving desire to go back and get No. 10.

B&N.com: This is your fourth book. Do you plan to do a fifth?

PJ: I don't have plans to write the fifth book yet. Technically I have done five, as the first one was a photography book by George Kalinsky and myself, in which I contributed a couple of photos and wrote the text about the first championship playoff run by the New York Knicks in 1970, called Take It All. My favorite book, the one that was most comfortable writing, has been Sacred Hoops. I hope to write something similar somewhere down the line, if all things work together.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 25 )
Rating Distribution

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(12)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2013

    Must read for Lakers fans

    Must read for Lakers fans

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2010

    Provides a greater understanding to the controversial season

    With 2 rings as a player with the Knicks and 10 as a coach, making 12 in total we all know that Phil Jackson is an excellent coach. But what you might not know is that he is a phenomenal writer. This book is an amazing story of how the Lakers where looking pretty to grab another title with the signing of the 2 Hall of Famers in Gary Payton and Karl Malone. A mix of rape charges, public disputes, private issues and big egos colliding, however, made for the hardest season Phil Jackson has ever had to coach. The winningest coach in NBA history did not have the perfect dream team that he had in Chicago. He didn't have Scottie Pippen, and more importantly, he didn't have Michael Jordan. He had a lot of talent, but he also had a lot of big egos. Jackson examines the effect of the Kobe Bryant rape on the team and how they surpassed some of the issues surrounding the to attempt to win their 4th title in five years. But the distractions appeared to be too many.

    This book elaborates from what the media reported and tells the real behind the scenes story about what actually happened in the 03-04 Laker's locker room. Phil Jackson tells the readers how he relieves the stress of a very stressful job. This book really allowed me to understand what happened to the team that had everything going for them and couldn't seal the deal. It allows the reader to understand the nasty divorce between Shaq and the organization. This book provides an answer to all the questions surrounding that season.

    I would recommend this book to any Laker fan or just a fan of basketball. I am not a Laker fan. In fact you might say I hate the Lakers. But as a fan of Phil Jackson and a fan of sports, I enjoyed this book a lot. This is a good read and is definitely the caliber book to change you mind about the controversy of that team.

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  • Posted August 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    DRAMA!!

    As a fan of The Lakers, I was very skeptical at first when reading this book. However, after reading Phil's take on such a tumultous (did I spell that right?) time, I have a newfound respect for this great coach. A page-turner...I finished it in one night!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2008

    Should Phil Jackson stick to writing books, or just coaching?

    Phil Jacksons "Last Stand", is unlike any other book I have ever read. Written in Phil Jacksons own uncensored words, this book is almost like his journal, explaining all the troubles and ordeals that he dealt with in the 2003-2004 National Basketball Association season; as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Written in the form of a game to game, and important highlight journal, it explains all the troubles between him and Superstar Kobe Bryant; Kobe's sexual assault case in Colorado, and the relentless arguments between center Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. Throughout the entire novel, Phil Jackson goes into great detail of the flaws of the Lakers franchise, the mistakes made in games, and the effort and support that all the players on the team have shown. Talking about all the ways each player affects the team, both positively and negatively, his infamous triangle offense, and the motivational speeches that he gives to the team, this book gives a firm understanding of the life under the spotlight. The novels theme is no matter what ups and downs you or people around you may go through, you must fight through them and keep going towards bigger and better things. One thing that I really enjoyed was the fact that Phil Jackson wrote the book in all honesty, not holding any of his feelings back, which made the book more interesting, and a lot more detailed and showed the emotions between all the players and faculty. Another thing that really made me like this book is the fact that it was written as a novel, but as a journal as well. He wrote about specific dates and games, but all within chapters of the season and his life. One element of the book that I disliked was the fact that in some areas, the relevance of what he was saying didn¿t make sense. He just seemed to be rambling on about the team. It almost seem like it was just to fill some space on the pages. I think people should read this book because it is highly interesting, and gives you a lot of information of what a franchise may go through in a single season. As an avid Lakers fan, and a big fan of Coach Phil Jackson, I found this book to be amazing, and very worthwhile. If you are not a fan of the Lakers, or even a sports fan, this book is not for you. I highly recommend this book. Hopefully Phil will release another in the future.

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  • Posted November 2, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    good, but over hyped

    a good diary of the lakers 2003-04 season as seen through the eyes of phil jackson. however, no deep secrets are revealed and jackson's criticsms of kobe bryant are way over-hyped.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2007

    good, but over-hyped

    a good diary of the lakers 2003-04 season as seen through the eyes of phil jackson. however, no deep secrets are revealed and jackson's criticsm's of kobe bryant are way over-hyped.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2006

    Straight Up

    In the beginning of the book Phil made it clear that it was not easy having four future hall of famers on one team. Phil also explains how it wasn¿t easy having Kobe and Shaq not on the same page all the time. He also shares how it was dating the owner¿s daughter. It was nice seeing the coach¿s point of view having Kobe, Shaq, Karl, and Gary all on the court at the same time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2005

    Great book

    I became a Lakers fan since Phil Jackson got this team the first ring in his first year. I admire Phil's coaching skill. This book gives you the picture of situations behind the closed door such as a player-coach relationship, a player-staff relationship, or among players themselves. It also gives you better understanding of each player's character. I very enjoy the later part of the book, the play-off. How they analyzed each game, each team, how Phil Jackson motivated his players and how each one respond especially the Hall of Famers. This is a great book for Lakers fans and Basketball fans. To me, Phil Jackson is very honest about his feeling.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2005

    Jackson's Last Season

    Former NBA player and coach Phil Jackson tells the story of his final year coaching the Los Angeles Lakers. From receiving new players such as Karl Malone and Gary Payton, to the fued between Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O' Neal. Phil begins from the beginning of the season, from teaching the new rookies the art of the triangle offense, and also to dealing with the alligations put forward on Kobe. Phil also talks about his personal life, from the divorce of his wife, to dating the boss's daughter. Phil explains how the team, that won 3 consecutive championships, slowly fell apart from self leadership and egos. I would recommend this book to all fans of the NBA. Phil Jackson is an inspiritational coach and his story alone is worth reading. 'The Last Season' offers insight to how a wonderful team was created and fell apart and the story of the leader throughout five years of the Lakers, and three amazing victories. Phil Jackson's accomplishments in the game of basketball are regarded as a must to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2005

    The Last Season

    Phil Jackson, the holder of eight championshup rings, has given us insite on what a coach of his caliber goes through. In his auotbiography, 'The Last Season,' he lets the readers know what takes place on court and off the court. Phil was the coach of the Lakers until he called it quits after his fifth season with them. He won 3 consecutive championships with them, and helped to give the L.A. Lakers a good name for themselves. During his last season with the Lakers he no longer could deal with the controversey between the teams two All-Stars, Shaq and Kobe. He dealt with their constant bickering, along with planning and training with the rest of the team. The Lakers in their final season with Phil Jackson had been built to win another championship with Kobe, Shaq, Karl Malone, and Gary Payton. But, it wasn't Phil that held them back from achieving it. He did all he could to hold his team togther and it was tought for him, but he managed to get them to the finals once again. Towards the end of the season he had the choice to stay, but when Shaq decided to leave, and for Kobe to take charge of the team, he ended it there. I recommend this book to all those who have the love for basketball. If you like to watch basketball or ever wonder what it is like for basketball players and their coaches, read Phil Jackson's point of view on things.Whether if you love the Lakers or hate the Lakers, Phil Jackson lays it out for us how hard it is to be a coach with these atheletes. Read his book to gain knowledge of what makes him such a good coach, and how he carries his team all the way. It is a good book, which takes you day by day before the season, during the season, and the end of the season. The Lakers coach has gone throught many tough obstacles and achieved greatness, and I think you should check out what it is like to be Phil Jackson.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2005

    Great Book

    This is such a good book even if you don't like the Lakers. I hate the lakers that is why I read the book. I wantred to hear about the destruction of the team.It has a good flow to it.It is the best sports story I have ever read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2004

    A Must Read For Basketball Fans

    Usually when I have free time from work, I usually grab a book to read. This time I just finished reading Phil Jackson¿s book, The Last Season ¿ A Team in Search of Its Soul. It¿s an amazing book from a coach who has won nine championships from the Los Angeles Lakers and the Chicago Bulls. He captivates the stories that have happened with the Lakers during his last year as the team¿s coach. In it¿s last year, there has been a lot of great expectations with this team. With four future hall of famers with Shaq, Kobe, Malone, and Payton, they were destined and expected by many to win the championship. However, the team falls apart against the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals. One of the most interesting events in this book is the altercations between the coach and Kobe Bryant. Kobe Bryant is one of the most selfish players out in the league. Kobe often hogs the ball and does not get along with Phil. Moreover, he admits to the team that he is tired of being the servient to Shaq and at that time, during his free agent years, his teammate¿s decision of coming back will be taken into great consideration whether or not he will come back to the Lakers or not. However, Phil himself claims that he¿s also sick of coaching a selfish minded Bryant. He will not come back unless he goes somewhere else. In fact, at that time that he lost to the Pistons, he was claiming that there was a 95% chance that he will not return as the coach; the only 5% would be if the coach, Kobe, and Shaq explicitly ask him to return ¿ an unlikely scenario. I love the book because I have followed the Los Angeles Lakers ever since a little kid. I have not read any types of journals related to the Lakers. Most of the time, all that I ever here are stories from the media. This is one special book because it is very rare to get a greater close encounter than Phil Jackson¿s accounts of the Lakers 2003-2004 season.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2004

    The Job From Hell

    This was a great book and gives fantastic insight into what it was like to coach Kobe and Shaq last year. I really felt that Phil told it exactly as it is. Well worth reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2004

    The luckiest greatest coach ever!!!

    Mr.Jackson is one of the greatest coaches ever he is also one of the luckest also. He had Michael Jordan playing for the Bulls doing things his way and he got lucky enough to have Shaq & Kobe. Any other coach would have won titles with Jordan and co.. but what he did in L.A makes him great through all the drama and selfishness he still helped that team dominate for the most part of the last 5 years!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2004

    The Last Season - A Book full of surprises for Laker Fans!

    Phil Jackson IS one of the greatest coaches in NBA history and having to deal with the egos of Shaq and Kobe just goes to prove it! This book is GREAT and lets you into the locker room and helps you get the perspective from Phil's eyes. For us Laker fans - it was a great ride! I LOVE U PHIL! I hope you do find that GM position somewhere. I wish it were with the Lakers!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2004

    finished in 4 hours

    An Amazingly honest account and fascinating inside look at the most talented and dysfunctional team in sports. It is amazing the Lakers ever won. I will never look at Kobe the same way... Phil is critical of himself and is not afraid to call it like he sees it. I can't believe he wrote this ..... This is the best inside look at a modern sports franchise I have ever read..... If you followed the lakers soap opera at all over the past few years, this is a must read...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2004

    The Book

    I am a female who loves basketball...I don't quite know all the rules/terms like I think I do while reading this book - but I am learning...I have always liked Phil Jackson and have admired his coaching skills...I haven't bought a book in over twenty years...I picked it up late saturday evening and as of monday I only have 57 pages left... this book is excellent and as I suspected Kobe was off the hook with his behavior... but Phil handled him well...this was not a tell all book it was actually what his title said 'a team in search of its soul'... the bottom line is that the owners are looking for what sales (Kobe)...more money(Kobe) more money( Kobe),entertainment (Kobe)...and at that cost they OPT for Kobe instead of a good coach PHIL JACKSON... Kobe is not the team he is a part of the team... and yes they did loose Shack...for this the Lakers will have a long haul to recover any victories... and I am looking for a new team to bond with... So long Lakers!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2004

    Excuses Excuses

    It seems like Phil's attempt to explain why he was outcoached by Larry Brown in the finals. Whatever problems he and Kobe had they still made it to the finals. Lakers didn't lose because of Kobe vs. Phil. They lost because of great D on Kobe, by outrebounding and outplaying Shaq and because no one else on the Lakers could hit a shot. I'll still check out the book though. I give it 4 stars because everyone (including me) wants to know whats in that book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2004

    THE BOOK AIN'T OUT YET BUT ONCE IT IS I WILL DEFINITELY READ IT.

    ONE OF THE GREATEST FIGURES IN SPORT. ARGUABLY THE GREATEST COACH TO EVER COACH THE GAME. TELL US WHAT H ETHINKS OF THE WEIRD BUT VERY INTERESTING YEAR THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS HAD IN 2003-2004. IM SURE IT WILL BE GREAT TO READ. GO LAKERS!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2004

    Phil Jackson is the Greatest NBA Coach in my opinion...

    Coaching today is much different then in Red Auerbach's day. Phil Jackson's ultimate failure last season can be confined to the finals. He let Larry Brown shut down the ball distribution by doubling and tripling selfish Kobe and when Shaq did get the ball he simply got fouled and couldn't make free throws. Payton was not effective and Malone was hurt. No solid third option. End of story!

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews

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