The 2011 playoffs were difficult and emotional for the Los Angeles Lakers and Phil Jackson for a number of reasons, but one huge reason was unknown until this point.
According to the OC Register – via Yahoo! Sports – Phil told the Lakers during their 2011 playoff run that he had prostate cancer:
[pullquote]The Los Angeles Lakers were in the middle of a 2011 second-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks when former coach Phil Jackson decided to tell the team that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer two months earlier.
Jackson talked about his condition, which was diagnosed in March 2011, and his announcement to the players in his upcoming book, “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success.”
According to a report in the Orange County Register, Jackson “sensed the team was lacking something” in the series with the Maverics when he revealed his news after consulting with captains Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher.[/pullquote]
Pau Gasol said that it was a tough time for the team:
[pullquote]”But then you also could understand certain moments of his demeanor, energy and involvement because of what he was going through health-wise,”Gasol said, according to the Register. “It explained certain things. It was a shock. A difficult moment for the team.”
An emotional Jackson told the team that he had decided to delay surgery until after the season.
“As much as I love Phil and I appreciate everything about him, it was difficult to know,” Gasol said.[/pullquote]
I’m amazed this news didn’t get out until now: it shows you how much the team respected Phil and stayed quiet until Jackson decided to reveal the health issues in his new book.
Cancer has reared its ugly head again, it seems. Of course, the Lakers’ legendary owner Dr. Jerry Buss died earlier this year due to complications from prostate cancer.
Hopefully, Phil is all clear now, though.