Lazenby: Jordan Went 'All In' To Keep Jackson

"Phil did not want to deal with Jerry Krause anymore," Roland Lazenby says.

Joe Ostrowski Show
May 14, 2020 - 11:23 am

(670 The Score) When then-Bulls coach Phil Jackson declared the 1997-'98 season would be "The Last Dance" for the dynasty's core, he created a motivating factor for his team in pursuit of its sixth championship in eight years.

But Jackson was also using the slogan to acknowledge that his coaching tenure with the Bulls was nearing its end, as then-general manager Jerry Krause was determined to make a change after the season -- even if Jackson and Chicago went 82-0, as he said.

The Bulls won another championship that season, and then came the expected ugliness between Jackson, Krause and the organization. But Jackson had the backing of superstar Michael Jordan. 
Jackson didn't want that support and was ready to move on, as author Roland Lazenby said on the Joe Ostrowski Show on Wednesday evening.

"Tex Winter had a unique perspective on it," Lazenby said. "He said, 'You know, Phil spent years bending over backwards to accommodate Jerry's difficult, difficult personality. And he finally just got fed up with it.' There's always been a mystery as to why this had to happen.

"Phil did not want to deal with Jerry Krause anymore. He knew there would be big things out there for him, and of course there were -- he went onto the Lakers."

Jordan was prepared to offer his support for Jackson to Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, according to Lazenby. When Jackson himself was ready to move on, it created a bit of a rift in the relationship between Jordan and Jackson, Lazenby said.

"Michael really went all in to keep Phil, but in the end, Phil didn't want to be there," Lazenby said.

"The Last Dance and time itself really brought Phil and Michael in a little closer range. I don't know. They weren't enemies or anything of that nature. They weren't just as close as they had been. But those are the kind of things you have to wonder about."

Lazenby authored the book "Michael Jordan: The Life," which details the career and icon of Jordan. 

The final season for Jackson, Jordan and the Bulls' dynasty will come into full focus when the final two episodes of "The Last Dance" air on ESPN on Sunday evening.