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|Jackson now in class by himself|
With their 99-86 victory over the Orlando Magic on Sunday night, the Los Angeles Lakers added to their legend with another National Basketball Association championship.
It was more than just the 15th championship trophy for the Los Angeles franchise.
The victory meant more than just No.4 for Kobe.
It was bigger than the elusive first ring for Pau Gasol.
This was more about history on the bench. With the win, Los Angeles head coach Phil Jackson became the first coach in the history of any professional sport to win 10 championships.
Red Arbach, the famed Boston Celtics coach from 1950-1967, won nine world championships.
To tell you what a feat this was, no coach in any sport would be able to even tie Arbach until Jackson did it with a Lakers three-peat in 2002.
That is a span of 35 years.
"You find yourself almost in awe sometimes," said L.A. forward Shannon Brown. "When I first got here, it was like, this is one of the guys I grew up watching, coach six championships, where I'm from. I'm like, that's Phil Jackson, man."
In 2008, Jackson had the Lakers on the brink. They were just two victories away when the Boston Celtics halted them and added more gold to their own historic franchise lore.
The Orlando Magic, who has now gone 1-8 all-time in the NBA Finals, would have no such luck. They were totally overpowered by the larger Lakers.
"I'll smoke the cigar tonight in memory of Red," Phil Jackson said. "He was a great guy."
Professional sports has had their iron men of coaching throughout history. Chuck Noll won four championships in the NFL as coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Scotty Bowman won nine NHL championships in a career which saw him become head coach of three different franchises and win titles.
Joe Torre won four world series championships in a 11-year span with the New York Yankees.
None have dominated their sport for longer or better than Phil Jackson.
The argument will be made that he was never able to win a title without a cast of all-star caliber players. That point is true.
But out of all the all-star players he has coached to gold, only Shaquille O'Neal has won a championship without Jackson on the bench. That has been just one title without Jackson in a span of 17 years.
Michael Jordan and Scotty Pippen never won a title without Jackson. Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol could not cut down the nets without him either.
O'Neal himself was 0-4 in the NBA Finals before playing for the guy known around coaching circles as "The Zen Master."
Love him or hate him, Phil Jackson is statistically and definitively the best coach in American sports history to date.
His legend may not be over yet. He has not indicated at all he is ready to retire from the Lakers. With Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher and Lamar Odom all set to return next year, No.11 could be just around the corner.