The Last Season: A Team in Search of Its Soul Info

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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.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for The Last Season: A Team in Search of Its Soul:

3

Mar 03, 2008

Appealing account of Phil Jackson's last season coaching the Lakers. Lots about Kobe and Shaq, and about Jackson's dating a Lakers VP who is also the owner's daughter--that must have been weird.

I had no idea that Shaquille O'Neal is such a delicate little passion flower. He weighs 340, and apparently it's extremely draining to carry all that muscle around. He gets fouled more than anyone else in the league, he has to wear a three-pound orthotic in each shoe, plus he's really sensitive and his Appealing account of Phil Jackson's last season coaching the Lakers. Lots about Kobe and Shaq, and about Jackson's dating a Lakers VP who is also the owner's daughter--that must have been weird.

I had no idea that Shaquille O'Neal is such a delicate little passion flower. He weighs 340, and apparently it's extremely draining to carry all that muscle around. He gets fouled more than anyone else in the league, he has to wear a three-pound orthotic in each shoe, plus he's really sensitive and his feelings are easily hurt. Gosh!

Oh, and Kobe Bryant is a self-centered j ackass. But you knew that.

Jackson is highly intelligent and, when discouraged, quotes the famous Buddhist saying, "Unceasing change turns the wheel of life and so reality is shown in all its many forms." ...more
3

Nov 03, 2017

Decent account, but I really wanted more insight into the inner workings, not just retelling me what happened.
4

Sep 28, 2017

The book "The Last Season: A Team In Search of Its Soul", by Phil Jackson was a spectacular book. It was about the last season of Phil Jackson coaching the Los Angeles Lakers. This book talked a great deal about the feud between Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. He spoke about how this season was different than the previous seasons when the team was winning championships. He mentioned how many people doubted his way of coaching and how that impacted the team and the organization as a whole. He The book "The Last Season: A Team In Search of Its Soul", by Phil Jackson was a spectacular book. It was about the last season of Phil Jackson coaching the Los Angeles Lakers. This book talked a great deal about the feud between Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. He spoke about how this season was different than the previous seasons when the team was winning championships. He mentioned how many people doubted his way of coaching and how that impacted the team and the organization as a whole. He talked about how difficult it was dating the owner of the Lakers daughter, Jeanie Buss, while he was coaching. He also talked about how exhausting it was to keep work and their personal life separate. The book also spoke about how young the team was in general, and how that impacted the 2003-2004 season. In conclusion, I gave this book a 4/5. It was a very interesting and engaging book and I would suggest it to multiple readers. ...more
1

Sep 11, 2019

I love Phil Jackso. Sacred Hoops and 11 Rings are some of my favorite basketball books, but the Last Season is just a very high level diary of the 03-04 Lakers.
4

Aug 20, 2011

Having read Sacred Hoops, I knew a bit about the philosophy about life and basketball of Phil Jackson---it's "Zen plus 1980s American equals winning, baby". I was thus interested to read about his book on the losing season, albeit in the NBA Finals, with the talented Lakers team of the 2003-2004. The Last Season has bits about them all: the passion, the travails, the fratricide, the loss.

Before discussing the book, a bit of (NBA) basketball history is needed. Prior to "the last season", Phil Having read Sacred Hoops, I knew a bit about the philosophy about life and basketball of Phil Jackson---it's "Zen plus 1980s American equals winning, baby". I was thus interested to read about his book on the losing season, albeit in the NBA Finals, with the talented Lakers team of the 2003-2004. The Last Season has bits about them all: the passion, the travails, the fratricide, the loss.

Before discussing the book, a bit of (NBA) basketball history is needed. Prior to "the last season", Phil Jackson gained the reputation of an old-school basketball trainer (no-nonsense, obeying the rules of the basketball gods play) with a "no prisoners" philosophy (his winning relationship with the Chicago Bulls ended acrimoniously, with the then-general manager Jerry Krause refusing to re-hire Jackson after Jackson refused to acknowledge Krause's contribution to the victories.) Jackson was also known for his way of interpreting his religion of maturity, Zen Buddhism, as a basketball philosophy; his triangle offense was, in his opinion, a way to follow the Zen path. This basketball strategy offers good opportunities for each player on the court and rewards patient play; thus, it is rare in the NBA, where most teams play exclusively for their superstar player and athleticism (speed of play) are considered the major attraction. Before joining the Lakers, Jackson acquired six titles with a team starring Michael Jordan, whom he was able to convince to submit to the rigors of the triangle offense. With the Lakers, Jackson had the opportunity to coach Kobe Bryant, a young gun considered then Jordan-calibre, and Shaquille O'Neill, the superstar of the league at the peak of his powers. However, the triangle offense was difficult to accept for these two superstars; after three consecutive championships, the team lost in the Conference Semi-Finals to a weaker but better-integrated team (the San Antonio Spurs), in the 2002-2003 season.

The 2003-2004 season was to confirm or destroy Jackson's reputation as a team-maker. Will Kobe become part of the team? Will Shaq agree to play second-fiddle to Kobe? Will the team continue to sacrifice if the two superstars were not contributing their share? The Last Season answers these and many other questions. Jackson does not spare his arrows, and tells us about how Bryant was uncoachable, Shaq was lazy, the team's general manager a schemer, the team owner ungrateful, etc. (All these form the less interesting part of the book.) He also tells us of the atmosphere in the team in the aftermath of Koby's rape scandal, of dealing with the numerous injuries, of the work ethic of the two all-star additions to the team (Karl Malone and Gary Payton), of his decisions on and off the court, of his relationship with the media, of his personal life. Oh, and about the loss in the finals to another underdog...

Overall, it was an interesting, albeit rather gossipy, read from the core of the game. Thumbs up!
...more
4

Jul 02, 2009

I really enjoyed this book; although I actually did the audio version rather than the paperback. (Phil doesn't read it; normally I prefer the author to read their own book, but given the timber of his voice, it's probably for the best that he didn't.) I would have given it 5 stars, but during the playoff section it turned into an almost play-by-play recap of scores and stats, which just does not make for a great story.

The rest of the book does mention numbers and stats, but they're provided more I really enjoyed this book; although I actually did the audio version rather than the paperback. (Phil doesn't read it; normally I prefer the author to read their own book, but given the timber of his voice, it's probably for the best that he didn't.) I would have given it 5 stars, but during the playoff section it turned into an almost play-by-play recap of scores and stats, which just does not make for a great story.

The rest of the book does mention numbers and stats, but they're provided more as a backdrop to the story, rather than being the story itself. My guess is that Phil's personal journal entries may have been a little light during the playoffs, and since the publisher couldn't ignore the playoff period, opted to just ramble on with a bunch of scores and figures from players and games.

Other than that slight bump, the book was quite entertaining. Phil Jackson comes off as an extremely interesting and enlightening character, who obviously has an amazing understanding of the NBA (and its business operations), and the fundamentals of the game of basketball itself.

Most of the problems that he is forced to deal with-both on and off the court-aren't the ones that I would have guessed. From the inconsistency of officiating, to how players selfishly attempt to boost their own figures (for their next contract negotiation, which are heavily based on these numbers), to how most players are essentially immature children (he doesn't say this, but you're lead in this direction)-all of his experience and perspective is bundled up in this book.

Throughout the novel you start to grasp that at least half of his job has nothing to do with the game of basketball, and that instead the lion's share is about managing the egos and pride of his players; at times you feel like he's just a parent to a large set of child stars.

The books ends with him retiring: he's done with the Lakers organization. In real life, he does end up going back, which, after sharing all of the reasons for departing, has me scratching my head. Hopefully he picks up the pen again one day and will share why he choose to go down the road he did; I'll definitely be there to read, or listen, to it. ...more
5

Oct 15, 2012

A must-read for NBA fans. Phil Jackson gives an inside look into the talented Lakers roster that had so much problems with execution, injuries and even team spirit, but still somehow managed to grind it out to the Finals.

Being a coach is never easy, and getting a team of 12-15 men to bond and work towards a goal unselfishly is tougher than it seems, especially in this NBA league where everyone is more about salary, contract and highlight reels over teamwork, passing and defense.

It's such a A must-read for NBA fans. Phil Jackson gives an inside look into the talented Lakers roster that had so much problems with execution, injuries and even team spirit, but still somehow managed to grind it out to the Finals.

Being a coach is never easy, and getting a team of 12-15 men to bond and work towards a goal unselfishly is tougher than it seems, especially in this NBA league where everyone is more about salary, contract and highlight reels over teamwork, passing and defense.

It's such a shame the book was so short, I would have liked to read about the events that transpired after he resumed coaching. ...more
3

Jul 26, 2012

I needed a light read before taking on some Gabor Mate & Dostoyevsky. Phil's author voice is frank yet reflective in this linear chronicle of the tail end of the Kobe/Shaq era. I equate his presence to talking to an older, wiser friend. A true human being that has manage to avoid the traps of stardom and hype, thereby preserving his core. I was refreshed to hear from someone who brings a larger world into what they do. A few very surprising revelations, that I won't spoil here, but it gave a I needed a light read before taking on some Gabor Mate & Dostoyevsky. Phil's author voice is frank yet reflective in this linear chronicle of the tail end of the Kobe/Shaq era. I equate his presence to talking to an older, wiser friend. A true human being that has manage to avoid the traps of stardom and hype, thereby preserving his core. I was refreshed to hear from someone who brings a larger world into what they do. A few very surprising revelations, that I won't spoil here, but it gave a new spin on the game for me. ...more
3

Feb 24, 2010

Before reading this book I was in agreement with those who downgrade Phil Jackson's coaching achievements due to the fact that he's had players like Jordan, Pippen, Shaq, and Kobe. However, after reading this book I have a new appreciation for the type of management it took to deal with all those egos (especially during the season that is the subject of this book).

I also really enjoyed Phil's take on the Shaq-Kobe feud and also on Kobe's obsession with Michael Jordan.
5

Apr 12, 2010

This is a book about professionsl backetball. It is also a book about life. Phil Jackson has written a very interesting, introspective and rewarding book.

Jackson was dealing with huge egoes, players paid somuch more than any coach etc. etc.

It is a book that is useful to almost all of us.

J. Robert Ewbank author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the 'Isms'"
4

Jul 29, 2017

With the passage of time, I think a couple of things are now clear:

Phil Jackson's coaching strength is probably his exceptional player management. In retrospect, nobody ever played better in their careers than when they played for him. Much as Kobe chafed under Jackson's leadership, all the non-Jackson Kobe seasons were disappointing Laker seasons. An unchained Kobe derailed his teams season after season under Tomjanovich and Mike D'Antoni. With Phil at the helm, they won championships.

But even With the passage of time, I think a couple of things are now clear:

Phil Jackson's coaching strength is probably his exceptional player management. In retrospect, nobody ever played better in their careers than when they played for him. Much as Kobe chafed under Jackson's leadership, all the non-Jackson Kobe seasons were disappointing Laker seasons. An unchained Kobe derailed his teams season after season under Tomjanovich and Mike D'Antoni. With Phil at the helm, they won championships.

But even in 2003, it's apparent Jackson's stubborn adherence to the triangle shares some of the blame for their failures that season. His reverence for Tex and the system he invented served him well in Chicago, and there is no arguing with his LA championships, but time and time again, Jackson complains about his players not understanding or adhering to the system. Well, there's a saying: if you think the whole world is crazy, maybe you're the crazy one. Perhaps it was the lack of discipline generally that caused their downfall, and not because his players failed to understand the intricacies of this specific system. If anything, the main benefit of the triangle offense seems to be that it kept Kobe from shooting them out of games. While reading the book, I got the sense that Jackson already did not understand that the game was already evolving beyond the style he had coached in Chicago, and that he was winning in part because of the incredible dominance of arguably the two best players in the league on the same team. Certainly, during Jackson's tenure, Shaq was a completely unstoppable offensive threat - triangle or no.

Back to NY for a moment. Jackson has been widely criticized for both his adherence to the now archaic triangle offense - clearly inferior in today's style of basketball - and how he handled Carmelo Anthony. But seeing how calculated and dedicated Phil was to Kobe, I believe now that the failure is probably Carmelo's. When Kobe did it his way, dictating game plans as he wanted them, his teams underachieved. Given how astute Jackson is with recognizing player personalities, needs, desires, and the fierce loyalty he inspired even in Kobe himself, it seems more likely to me that Carmelo is the sort of selfish player who is not interested in the advice of a old man with an old system. It's notable that Carmelo's career itself has been a disappointment, once considered a first-team all NBA level superstar, but, in actuality, has never come close to a conference finals. Yes, Jackson's castigations in the media did not help, but he has never been wrong about how Carmelo is a poor team player.

I was surprised by the lack of info provided about the rape case regarding Kobe. Perhaps Jackson felt that was not his place to provide further commentary than is available. Maybe he felt like that was Kobe's story, and he should not comment on what happened. Still, that was surely the biggest story of that year. Surely, Jackson wrestled with his personal feelings on the matter of the allegations and the police report that came out.

The book is well-written, thoughtful, and interesting. There are many sections when Jackson reminisces about his time with the NY Knicks which are largely irrelevant to the story, sort of in the manner of a rambling Abe Simpson, but it is otherwise a tight synopsis of the inner thoughts and feelings of a very interesting season. ...more
3

Nov 12, 2009

This is being reprinted from my website Secure Immaturity. Please visit and comment:

The year 2004 was a nasty, nasty year for the NBA. The Laker dynasty had ended in 2003 and the San Antonio Spurs were bringing in a new era of basketball to the world: defensive basketball and offensive fundamentals. The Detroit Pistons, in the Eastern Conference, took the Spurs 2003 championship to heart and did the same. Very soon the action-packed high scoring NBA was no more. Games were locked at 75-75 in OT This is being reprinted from my website Secure Immaturity. Please visit and comment:

The year 2004 was a nasty, nasty year for the NBA. The Laker dynasty had ended in 2003 and the San Antonio Spurs were bringing in a new era of basketball to the world: defensive basketball and offensive fundamentals. The Detroit Pistons, in the Eastern Conference, took the Spurs 2003 championship to heart and did the same. Very soon the action-packed high scoring NBA was no more. Games were locked at 75-75 in OT (!), records for consecutive games of holding opponent’s scoring to less then 70 points were being broken night in and night out and the flashy world of dribbling, crossovers, and alley-oops was being replaced by double-teams, jump shots and blocks.

If there was one exciting wrinkle in the 2004 season it was this: the Los Angeles Lakers and the soap opera of Shaq, Kobe and Phil Jackson. They were at the end of their run, dethroned by the Spurs in 2003, and were losing composure. In a way, they were the last of the previous decade’s flashy teams. . .but with San Antonio digging in and Detroit the (only) power in the East, times were a-changin’. Add to this rape cases in Denver and threats of going to the Clippers (Kobe), inter-office romance with the owner’s daughter and the lack of a contract extension (Jackson), to an aging and progressively large body and sensitive ego (Shaq), 2004 was everything for the Lakers that the rest of the NBA season wasn’t: exciting (if not terrifying).

And Phil Jackson put it all down in book form (based on personal journal entries) and what you have is a somewhat compelling look at the locker room whose size could never fit the egos and mixed signals the Lakers carried with them. The major problem with the book, titled The Last Season: A Team In Search of It’s Soul, is the aforementioned time period. Yes, the Lakers were an absolute horror show on so many levels but the drama of the game was lacking so heavily that even with the rape case and all that, nothing can really spice up a boring playing season. In the end, the locker room drama is just depressing fodder and further proof that athletes are overpaid babies.


Unlike other history/memoir books I tend to read, I am deeply familiar with the NBA and that season in particular. I found myself offended by half of the Lakers team and happy for the others: they were the ultimate zig-zag team pulling my emotions left and right. Though I am a die-hard Orlando Magic lifer, I’ve always had respect for the Lakers (not common when you live in Phoenix) and appreciated their history and enjoyed their play. But most especially they were the benchmark for ‘legends’ and I loved to see them get beat because you can’t be the best until you beat the best. That’s why, even with respect in place, I rooted for the Sixers (2000), Pacers (2001) and Nets (2002) during the Lakers dynasty of the new millennium.

My initial issues were with Kobe (who had become a big baby and allegedly a ‘rapist’ (or at the very least an adulterer)), Shaq (who betrayed my Magic team in 1996 by ditching town), Karl Malone (who had ended his loyalty with the Jazz to mooch off of a dynasty to get a ring) and Gary Payton (ditto, but with the SuperSonics). Their existence was frightening but they were all so unlikable for many reasons (Kobe for the ‘rape’ and the other three for loyalty issues). On the other side, though, was Phil Jackson, who is simply amazing, and the existence of a type of gameplay I thought long dead once the Spurs/Pistons took control of the league. I wanted someone to beat them (anyone but the Spurs anyways) but I also wanted them to win again so Jackson could get his tenth ring and offense could be restored to the league (karma is a bitch since Phil eventually won his tenth ring in 2009. . .against my Magic. God damn it!).

The Last Season sure doesn’t raise my respect for Kobe or Gary. Malone, on the other hand, as Jackson points out, shows amazing work ethic, which was never in question in his years in Utah, and adapted his game to fit the team. Loyalty issues aside (which still irk me), Malone was a great team player. . .on a team with people who wanted the exact opposite. Kobe and Gary, as Jackson explains numerous times, were more about themselves then the team. Though they showed flashes of greatness and team unity, they were failures to the squad then anything else. . .and only brought them down. Shaq, as a result of this, ends of looking better. There is never a time he wasn’t looking out for himself but he was keenly aware that his legacy depended on championships and he knew a team with a selfish prick like Kobe was going to tarnish that legacy (hence why he bolted and won his fourth ring in Miami). In other words, two superstars come out unscathed and better while two others are tarnished in my mind.

And while all this is somewhat entertaining to read (if not completely depressing and telling of American society), the book depends on the reader to accept two things: that Phil Jackson is an innocent in all this and speaks the truth and that Kobe Bryant, who ends up being the real focus and meat of the story, is really as egomaniacal, immature and borderline-crazy as Jackson points out. I’ve read other Phil Jackson books before: he is a smart guy and also very deep and thoughtful. In his book Sacred Hoops: Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior, he indicated that he can merge the need for self preservation (or just selfishness) with teamwork. Jackson applies this idea to his coaching (and now he has 10 championships in 12 attempts) and relays it throughout The Last Season; Shaq buys into it, according to the text, and Kobe does not. Because of this, Kobe becomes an enemy. Jackson has some tough words for the man-child but, in general, remains neutral and, hopefully, truthful.

The book, unlike The Jordan Rules, masters the art of sports suspense: that even when the outcome is known you still feel like, through reading, you don’t know what’s going to happen. The way the book is written, with all the set-up, you imagine the Lakers are going to win the 2004 NBA Championship and all will be well. But they don’t. . .they lose in an embarrassing way to a young Pistons team in only five games; Jackson’s first NBA Finals loss in ten attempts. . .and everything falls apart as quickly as it was put together at the beginning of the year. Jackson’s writing (with an assist, no pun intended, from Michael Arkush) makes you feel, even in hindsight, that cooler heads will prevail and a championship will be wrought despite the crazy time exhibited by the players, management and even the coaches.

I’m going to put faith in myself and declare the book isn’t completely biased. There are shades of some but it is a memoir after all so it probably has to be but overall I trust the source. Kobe came out with his own memoir, of sorts, called Kobe Doin’ Work, a film, and I believe it was also extremely honest. . .and completely foreshadowed in outcome and voice in The Last Season by Phil Jackson who spent (and still spends) more time with him then almost anyone else. I would say that if you want some sports history you should probably stay away. . .but if you want to get an inside, mostly unbiased look at a coach dealing with some heavy shit or you want to protect/mock Kobe, then this book is for you. I’m not disappointed I read it but I am disappointed I actually had to live through it like Phil did.
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4

Jul 20, 2017

I try to read more of Phil's books all the time. As a coach, a boss, a leader I find that he has a lot of insight to offer in regard to dealing with personalities and helping people find their best selves. Is he perfect, of course not....he is a terrible general manager.

As always this book delves deeply into a season with his Laker's team....his final season. After 3 championships, he loses a Final and learns soon after that he is no longer required. During the season we learned a lot about the I try to read more of Phil's books all the time. As a coach, a boss, a leader I find that he has a lot of insight to offer in regard to dealing with personalities and helping people find their best selves. Is he perfect, of course not....he is a terrible general manager.

As always this book delves deeply into a season with his Laker's team....his final season. After 3 championships, he loses a Final and learns soon after that he is no longer required. During the season we learned a lot about the Kobe/Shaq feud, at least from Phil's eyes. Neither Hall of Famer comes off completely well, but Shaq looks like the good person you suspect. Kobe...not so much. In some ways, this was Kobe's season on trial in Denver as well, it sounds like he suspects Kobe sabotaged a lot of this particular season.

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3

Oct 27, 2018

I tend to enjoy insider looks at the locker rooms and clubhouses of the sports I enjoy, and that, combined with the 99 cent price tag (at a book sale), drove me to read the book. Further, the opportunity to have a coach's perspective on a season spent coaching Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal was too much to pass up. (As I'd hoped, there were also some references to Jackson's time coaching Jordan, Pippen et al with the Bulls.) Given all of those facts, I'd still only give this book three stars. I tend to enjoy insider looks at the locker rooms and clubhouses of the sports I enjoy, and that, combined with the 99 cent price tag (at a book sale), drove me to read the book. Further, the opportunity to have a coach's perspective on a season spent coaching Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal was too much to pass up. (As I'd hoped, there were also some references to Jackson's time coaching Jordan, Pippen et al with the Bulls.) Given all of those facts, I'd still only give this book three stars. Jackson, for all of his coaching acclaim, isn't a great writer (not that I'd expect him to be), and I found that I had read enough to get a sense for the Lakers' locker room in 2002 by about page 100 or 150. Still, as a long-time NBA fan, the book also served as a fond trip down Memory Lane. I'd recommend this book to NBA fans who grew up watching Jackson's Bulls and Lakers teams, as I did. ...more
5

May 26, 2016

The Last Season
By: Phil Jackson
The Last Season is a nonfiction book about the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2004 season. This book is presented from the coach, Phil Jackson’s, point of view; therefore it is told in first person. Coming from Phil Jackson’s point of view the reader can really feel and understand what he went through during the season, but the reader does not gain as much detail about the other important people in the book and what they feel. The other people in this book that have a big The Last Season
By: Phil Jackson
The Last Season is a nonfiction book about the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2004 season. This book is presented from the coach, Phil Jackson’s, point of view; therefore it is told in first person. Coming from Phil Jackson’s point of view the reader can really feel and understand what he went through during the season, but the reader does not gain as much detail about the other important people in the book and what they feel. The other people in this book that have a big input are Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Jenny Buss. Kobe and Shaq both played on the team while Jenny, the daughter of the Laker’s owner, is Phil Jackson’s wife.
Jenny constantly helped out Phil as he dealt with the struggles of being the coach of two NBA stars fighting for power over the team. Kobe, the starting shooting guard for the Lakers, constantly tried to be the sole leader of the team but that wasn’t his only struggle during this book. Kobe also was going through a legal battle at the time because he was accused of raping a woman. Shaq’s only struggle was trying to be the only star of the team and Kobe never gave in. The main conflict in this book is Kobe and Shaq fighting for the star position. With such big personalities at the time, there was no backing down for either of them. Phil Jackson, the head coach, always tried to settle the feud between both of the players but it didn’t work. The only good time each of them had together was on the court when this duo couldn’t be stopped. After winning their third championship together, they still fought and weren’t did not communicate at all off the court. The climax of this time in their lives was in the beginning when the team was breaking up. Both Shaq and Phil were leaving the team and Kobe was staying. Having the climax at the beginning of the story was very interesting, since it allowed Phil Jackson more time to write about what happened in the previous season, which caused this struggle. This conflict is not resolved in the book because Shaq and Kobe never regrouped together. Phil Jackson did return to the Lakers later after four years of taking time off.
During the book, Phil Jackson has several flashbacks. One flashback was when Phil talked about the amazing time he had when coaching the great Michael Jordan. He compared Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen to Kobe and Shaq when talking about Jordan and Pippen’s love for playing with each other compared to Kobe and Shaq. Phil said “[They] fought like cats and dogs” (37). This is a simile he used to compare Kobe and Shaq and how they got along compared to how Jordan and Pippen got along. Another time when Phil used flashbacks was when he talked about Kobe and Shaq’s first two championships together when the friction between them was not as bad.
Phil Jackson is one of the best NBA coaches of all time if not the best. When Phil Jackson said “I thrive on challenges, and there is no more imposing challenge for someone in my profession than winning an NBA title,” (239) this statement shows the importance coaching had on Phil Jackson. Phil Jackson was obsessed so much with winning it was sickening. This constant will to win is what won his championships with Jordan, Pippen, Shaq, and Kobe. Even with the arrogance of Kobe and Shaq, they won three championships in a row which expressed Phil’s quality of coaching. To add to Phil’s love for coaching and the way he saw coaching, he said, “Basketball, unlike football with its prescribed routes, is an improvisational game, similar to jazz. If someone drops a note, someone else must step into the vacuum and drive the beat that sustains the team” (129). This statement really shows the way Phil Jackson saw the game of basketball. Many people see basketball as people running up and down the court trying to put a round ball in a basket; but, Phil Jackson saw the game differently which was like it was a puzzle, You need certain pieces to win, and if one piece does not fit, like a player having a bad game, then coach should change the piece to see what works.
I recommend this The Last Season to anyone who likes sports. I am a basketball fan and keep up with the NBA, and my favorite player is Kobe. Now I know who Kobe really is and it gives me a perspective on how professional athletes behave. This book shows the reader the struggles one can go through when being a professional athlete. Most people think athletes have the best life, but they have struggles just like the rest of us. Due to Kobe’s court case and his fame, he got so much hate from the media. The weakness in this book is not knowing the true feelings of both Kobe and Shaq. Since it was written by Phil Jackson, the reader really only hears his perspective. Since it is presented from Phil Jackson’s point of view, it is understandable that the reader would not get as much detail on other people in the story. For example, Shaq was mad at Kobe for his comments on live TV but the reader did not fully understand all of Shaq’s feelings since we did not hear from him directly.
Overall, this was a great book. I like reading nonfiction, especially about sports. I feel like I am learning so much when I read the words of Phil Jackson. I like learning about basketball but also am interested in the real story behind the game. I would recommend this to anyone who likes sports, or who wants to learn about the history behind the 2004 LA Lakers. ...more
4

Feb 20, 2019

This book is a great read for NBA fans! Phil Jackson offers his audience a chance to relive the Lakers 03-04 season with such great talent. The Last Season does a great job describing everything he needed to juggle that year, from team chemistry/egos, Kobe's legal issues, failing relations with the organization, a romantic relationship with Dr. Buss's daughter (Jeanie), the media, his potential looming retirement, etc.. I'd definitely suggest this to anyone who enjoys professional basketball.
4

Jun 07, 2019

I read this book seeking insight about the 03/04 Lakers. Other than the typical things like the Kobe Shaq feud and Fisher’s buzzer beater, I was clueless about anything about the team. Phil Jackson quite nicely laid out the context, which was essential for understanding the season as a whole. Whether it was the coaching technique, the rather less known players, and relationship, it was all well described. I really recommend it to people wanting to know more about NBA history. My favorite part I read this book seeking insight about the 03/04 Lakers. Other than the typical things like the Kobe Shaq feud and Fisher’s buzzer beater, I was clueless about anything about the team. Phil Jackson quite nicely laid out the context, which was essential for understanding the season as a whole. Whether it was the coaching technique, the rather less known players, and relationship, it was all well described. I really recommend it to people wanting to know more about NBA history. My favorite part was the ending so please read till the end. ...more
4

Jul 19, 2018

An inside view into the last season and chaos. Amazing to see how much information the management has over the ball club. And Phil bring humble about the whole experience and even the respect it lack thereof he got from the players. Definitely learnt a lot more about the Lakers team back then than what is available from the media. As a Lakers fan, this was great eye opener.
5

Nov 05, 2019

Behind the scenes take on what happened during the season where the Big 4 of the Lakers was formed and widely expected to win the championship and how they fell to the team with practically little star power, the Detroit Pistons.
4

Oct 27, 2019

It really is an inside view of the relational dynamics of the turbulent Los Angeles Lakers.

As a Laker fan myself, it was a bitter-sweet read for me.

For anyone interested in pro-sports or psychology/ego of true masters in their respective domains, read this book.
2

Nov 08, 2019

Some interesting insights on what went on behind the scenes that season.Pretty much taken from Phils journal and laid out in that style.Alot of the info was already pretty much common knowledge for anyone who follows the Lakers closely.
4

Jun 13, 2018

Really enjoyed the parts about Kobe and Shaq, but entertaining throughout and filled with some solid wisdom throughout. Good book
3

Jun 23, 2019

I found the parts dealing with interpersonal interactions to be interesting, but I gave it only 3 stars because there were way too many play-by-play descriptions of the games.
3

Jul 12, 2017

The stories about NBA legends make this book somewhat enjoyable, but Phil Jackson's ego-maniacal rhetoric had me wishing for this book to end long before it did.
0

Oct 30, 2013

In The Last Season, Phil Jackson tells all about behind the scenes of the season the proved to be the final ride of the Lakers. From its beginnings in the off season with the signing of the future Hall of Famers which are Karl Malone and Gary Payton and the expectations it created and the felony sexual assault charges against Kobe Bryant “ that name rings a lot of bells” one of the league’s marquee superstars - Jackson describes the many challenges that arose during the season . Juggling the In The Last Season, Phil Jackson tells all about behind the scenes of the season the proved to be the final ride of the Lakers. From its beginnings in the off season with the signing of the future Hall of Famers which are Karl Malone and Gary Payton and the expectations it created and the felony sexual assault charges against Kobe Bryant “ that name rings a lot of bells” one of the league’s marquee superstars - Jackson describes the many challenges that arose during the season . Juggling the big egos and with huge sums at stake, managing difficult relationships and public feuds, facing injuries, contract disputes and team meltdowns Jackson said these things remind him of when he had to grow up with his brothers. No one really saw all theses flaw because it was all hidden behind Kobe Bryant trail-slash-media circus, still through it all Phil Jackson guided his team through to its fourth NBA finals in his five years as its coach. There his team ran out of road, a failure Jackson examines wit the same deep honesty and wisdom he brings to the rest of the season. Phil Jackson brought this book to life in so many ways the human drama the timeless appeals, rich in lessons about coaching and about life this isn't the only he have wrote he has two other books. The books are titled Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success and Journey to the Ring: Behind the Scenes with the 2010 NBA Champions Lakers. He wrote this book for people to learn about behind the scenes of the basketball life and for people that dream to become a basketball player he also say its always good to have someone you trust and you believe that will have your back because if not you will things that you may regret and thing you just can't take back. There will be a lot of people that come after you just because you have money.

Phil Jackson was born in September 17, 1945 he was born in Deer Lodge, Montana. He was born to Charles and Elisabeth Funk ,Jackson. He attended high school in Williston, North Dakota where he played varsity basketball and led the team to two state titles. He also played football, was a pitcher on the baseball team, and threw the discus in track and field competitions. He has two brothers, and his half-sister that grew up in a remote area of Montana in an austere environment. Jackson life wasn't like other normal teenagers because his parents were Assemblies of God ministers so there house was very structured, which left them to do very little things as young people and teenagers as they got older like juniors in high school then that's when their parents started letting up on them and got to do things with the other teens from the block. Bill Fitch has helped Jackson become the NBA coach he is today. Fitch took over as head basketball coach at the University of North Dakota in the spring of 1962, during Jackson's junior year of high school and from then all Jackson dreams started to become true.


I would love to read more of his books because things we don’t know about comes out. In his books he doesn't hold nothing back. Things people might want answers to are all in the book like really. Some things I didn't know about Kobe came out and I was scouted. Overall this book makes you want to read the others to see what else can i find out that goes on behind the closed doors in the NBA world.

...more

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