Jewish Journal

Red or Phil?

by Jeremy Fine

May 15, 2011 | 11:27 am


Phil Jackson has retired (for now). Most likely he will get bored after a few years and reappear when Mike D’antoni gets fired and the Knicks need a head coach. But for now Jackson claims that he is done. So the debate begins, who was better Red Auerbach (Jewish) or Jackson?

Lets compare the numbers.

Titles: Jackson 11, Auerbach 10

Games won: Jackson 1155, Auerbach 938

Seasons: Jackson 21, Auerbach 17

Hall of Fame: Both inducted

Coach of the Year: Jackson (‘96), Auerbach (‘65)

NBA’s Top 10 Coaches of All-Time: Both

The numbers are so close that it is hard to settle the debate simply by looking at them. If anything Jackson has the slight edge with 1 more championship. Both also had great players. Jackson had Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman on his Bulls teams while his Lakers had Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Pau Gasol. Auerbach had Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, and K.C. Jones.

Auerbach late became a General Manager and took a front office leadership that Jackson never did. If I had to pick one I would go with Auerbach. While Jackson was a Bull, Jackson’s job was always to take they top talent in the league and have them play as a team. Auerbach helped assemble the team and then coach it. He also never had Jordan. 6 of Jackson’s titles were Jordan’s dominance and will. Russell, probably the third best player of all-time (Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain in front of him) was a force for sure, but the ball wasn’t in his hand like Jordan. He also had guys like Jordan and Bryant to help guide their other players like Rodman and Ron Artest.

Ultimately, I think Jackson will come back. If he does and wins another title I gave the edge to Jackson. If he losses I think Auerbach comes out on top.

Feel free to comment.

And Let Us Say…Amen.

-Jeremy Fine
For more visit www.TheGreatRabbino.com

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Rabbi Jeremy Fine is the Assistant Rabbi at Temple of Aaron in St. Paul MN. He was ordained from the Jewish Theological Seminary where he also received a Masters in Jewish...

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