Tim Cone's admiration for Phil Jackson doubled after watching 'Last Dance'

May 20, 2020

LIKE most fans of the docu series, Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone said he will definitely miss watching The Last Dance, which ended on Monday.

Cone felt like the 10-part series was still not enough to discuss the greatness of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls team of the 1990s, particularly in the 1997-98 season, the main theme of the documentary.

“It’s amazing how they can do 10 hours and still come up short,” said Cone in a Repubika Huddle podcast of NBA Philippines. “And you do. You do feel like there is so much you could learn and you do feel a little bit bitin. No doubt about it.”

Cone was one of the avid viewers of The Last Dance, being a disciple of the triangle offense the Bulls used in their reign as six-time NBA champions.

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The PBA’s most successful coach said he is impressed with all the aspects of the documentary particularly the stories and topics tackled.

“I grew up with the Bulls and my whole coaching career was based on the Bulls. I devour everything that was to devour in those years, reading and watching video, and I was amazed, I may say, with the accuracy of what they talked about and how deep they got into a lot of things,” said Cone.

Of all the subjects that were interviewed, Cone said the one person whose insights he can relate to the most was Reggie Miller.

“I think the thing that I remember when I was watching The Last Dance was when Reggie Miller got up and said about Game Seven, 'It’s just about who wants it more. It’s not about the game plan anymore.'”

“We have the opportunity in the PBA to play many playoff series. We play three playoff series a year. We constantly play playoff series. We have a lot of experience in terms of that. I can’t remember how many Game Sevens I’ve been involved in, Game Fives of a best-of-five series, knockout games. It seems infinite.

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“It’s a players’ game,” said Cone about Game Sevens. "It’s a lot of insight by Reggie. You’ve got to listen to him. He has great insights on how to play basketball.”

Being an ardent follower of the Bulls, Cone remembered a lot of moments during their run including that final act in the six-peat that saw Chicago being forced to a Game Seven in the Eastern Conference finals by Indiana, and losing to Utah in Game One of the finals.

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“There was a lot of trepidations going to Game Seven because the Bulls just doesn’t play Game Sevens,” Cone said. “They wrap it up early. They always win Game One of the series. When they lost to Utah in Game One, that was a big shocker.”

After watching the series, Cone said a lot of credit for the six-peat should go to Phil Jackson, who kept the team together despite challenges along the way.

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    “You talk about handling personalities, problems with management, problems with players, problems with contracts, and the guy who pulls it out together and keep moving is Phil Jackson himself.

    “If you look at giving one person credit for all of that, it’s got to be Phil Jackson. He was the one who kept Michael believing in his teammates. Even though he had a little run-in with Scottie [Pippen], it happens all the time. He was the one who got it all back together again, got them focused, and moving forward. You have to give him all the credit.

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    “And the fact that when it was all done and he got everybody together and did the paper and the can burning was again another way of closing the chapter instead of walking away being dissatisfied. They had a sense of ending. They all had a chance to get a rebirth and a new start,” said Cone.

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