BELIEVING that the game of basketball is not as beautiful as it used to be, Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson said LeBron James is guilty of traveling “every other time he catches the basketball.”
In an interview with Howard Beck of Bleacher Report about the current state of basketball, the 69-year old president of the New York Knicks pointed to the four-time NBA MVP’s penchant for traveling as one of the main examples of a game that has devolved to a lack of “structure” and “discipline."
“I watch LeBron James, for example. He might [travel] every other time he catches the basketball if he’s off the ball. He catches the ball, moves both his feet. You see it happen all the time. There’s no structure, there’s no discipline, there’s no, ‘How do we play this game’ type of attitude…. It struck me: How can we get so far away from the real truth of what we’re trying to do?”
“And if you give people structure, just like a jazz musician — he’s gotta learn melody, and he’s gotta learn the basic parts of music — and then he can learn how to improvise. And that’s basically what team play is all about,” added the championship-winning coach of the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers
Jackson, a firm believer in the Triangle Offense that utilizes all five players on the floor, also noted the shift from “team basketball” to offenses centered on individuals, explaining the change in attitude is a reflection of how society has evolved.
“When I watch some of these playoff games, and I look at what’s being run out there, as what people call an offense, it’s really quite remarkable to see how far our game has fallen from a team game. Four guys stand around watching one guy dribble a basketball.”