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Phil Jackson: Knicks ‘Culture Change’ Has Succeeded In New York

After Hall of Famer Phil Jackson agreed to become the new team president for the New York Knicks, the NBA legend had perhaps the biggest challenge of his professional career ahead of him. The Knicks were arguably the worst team in the league and on the verge of losing their superstar in Carmelo Anthony.

Fortunately, Jackson was able to sell Anthony on his vision for the future in New York. Carmelo signed lucrative five-year deal with the team, but then had to suffer through a 17-win season and a bleak future ahead.

Although the Knicks are coming off an extremely disappointing season, Jackson believes he’s succeeded in changing the culture moving forward, via ESPN’s Charlie Rosen:

“I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the Knicks since I left here. Love, because playing here was such a joy. Hate, because the Bulls always had to get past the Knicks in some very contentious series to advance in the playoffs. But I had to break up the team for us to move forward in the right direction. That means getting talented players that fit with each other on and off the court. Also getting players who understand that while playing basketball is fun, this is also a business. So we need guys who will ice after practice, watch what they eat, avoid having those three extra beers when they party, and get the rest they need. I think we succeeded in getting this particular cultural change.”

Clearly, Jackson is confident about the path the team is headed on moving forward. New York may be arguably the worst team in the league at this point in time, but the future may be bright if he continues to stick to his long-term plan.

The real question is whether Jackson will be around for the final product in New York. Jackson signed a five-year deal with the team and always seems to be ready to walk away from the game completely. His recent engagement to Los Angeles Lakers team president, Jeanie Buss, further complicates things for the legendary former coach with his job on the in New York and future wife all the way on the other side of the country on the West Coast.

Another potential problem on the horizon is Anthony’s being unhappy with the team’s direction. Along with missing the playoffs last season, Anthony wasn’t thrilled about the Knicks drafting a relatively unknown in international product Kristaps Porzingis. Anthony has since said that he was fine with the pick, but many believe he’s disappointed in the team’s decision making with such a crucial pick (4th overall) in the 2015 NBA Draft.

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