Back in 2014, the New York Knicks brought in Phil Jackson with the dream of bringing the franchise back to its glory days. That didn’t happen and now owner James Dolan has fired his team president. Jackson was paid $12 million a year for work that never once resulted in even a playoff berth for the Knicks.
The 71-year-old Jackson played for the Knicks from 1967 to 1978, winning championships in 1970 and 1973. He also won 11 championships as a coach with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. But Jackson failed to have that kind of success as an executive. In his three years as Knicks president, the Knicks’ record has been 80-166.
Jackson has five children and has been married and divorced twice. He was engaged to Jeanie Buss, the daughter of Lakers owner Jerry Buss, but they broke up late last year.
Here’s what you need to know about Jackson’s net worth.
1. Jackson Has an Estimated Net Worth of $70 Million
Jackson has an estimated net worth of $70 million, Celebrity Net Worth estimates.
Jackson started his NBA career with the Knicks in 1967, after the team drafted him in the second round out of North Dakota. The Montana native was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team and helped the Knicks win championships in 1970 and 1973. The franchise hasn’t won an NBA Finals series since.
In 1978, Jackson played for the New Jersey Nets and retired as a player in 1980. He started coaching with the Nets as an assistant while playing, then spent much of the 1980s coaching for the Albany Patroons. In 1987, he went back to the NBA as an assistant for the Chicago Bulls. He was head coach of the Bulls from 1989 to 1998, winning six championships with Michael Jordan on the court. In 1999, Jackson moved to Los Angeles to coach the Lakers, where he won five more championships.
In 2010, Forbes listed Jackson as the highest-paid coach in all of American pro sports. He was earning $10 million a year as the Lakers coach.
2. Jackson’s Knicks Contract Paid Him $12 Million a Year
In March 2015, the Knicks wooed Jackson back into the NBA with a five-year contract that paid him $12 million a year, ESPN reported at the time. ESPN reported that the deal didn’t include an ownership stake.
Jackson’s job as Knicks president included running all basketball operations, taking over for general manager Steve Mills. Mills remained with the franchise as GM.
When Jackson was officially introduced as the Knicks president, he acknowledged how difficult it would be to turn around the franchise. “It would be a capstone on the remarkable career that I’ve had,” Jackson said, CBS New York reports.
But it was not to be. The Knicks still haven’t made it to the playoffs since the 2012-2013 season, when they lost in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. In Jackson’s first full season as president, the Knicks mustered just a 17-65 record. Things could only go up from there, and rookie Kristaps Porzingis helped the Knicks win 31 games last season.
3. Jackson Is Being Fired With 2 Years & $24 Million Left on His Contract
Before the Knicks could make an official statement on Jackson, Yahoo Sports’ The Vertical reported that Jackson will be fired. Jackson met with Dolan on Tuesday to discuss Jackson’s departure and the future of Mills isn’t clear.
The Vertical notes that Jackson will leave with two years and $24 million left on his contract.
The move came just weeks after the Knicks picked up the option for the last two years on the original five-year contract. ESPN reported on April 13 that Dolan picked up the option, which was included in the contract if there was a lockout for the 2017-2018 season.
Jackson’s tenure with the Knicks was filled with trades and draft picks that didn’t work out, as well as a public battle with star Carmelo Anthony. The Vertical suggests that Dolan became increasingly concerned when Jackson started fielding offers to trade Porzingis, one of the few picks Jackson has made that has worked out. Just last week, ESPN reported before the draft that the Knicks were looking to deal Porzingis in a package that would include Joakim Noah or Jimmy Butler. But no deal ever happened and Porzingis is still with the Knicks.
4. Jackson Bought a $4.85 Million Apartment in New York in 2014
A few months after signing his contract with the Knicks, 6sqft.com reported that Jackson bought a $4.85 million apartment at the Osborne on West 57th Street.
The building was completed in 1883 and the apartment has mahogany pocket doors, inlaid oak and cherry floors, stained glass transom windows and other historic accents. It has three bedrooms, 14-foot ceilings, multiple fireplaces and a dining room.
The “Zen Master” also has a home in his native Montana, which he described in a 2013 Wall Street Journal essay. He also has a home in Los Angeles.
“It’s a really unhealthy lifestyle,” Jackson told the Los Angeles Times in 2011 when he planned to retire from the game for good. “I think that’s a good reason to get out of the game in some ways too.”
5. Jackson Has Written Several Books About Coaching & Used to Give His Players Books to Read
Jackson, whose coaching approach was inspired by his interest in Eastern philosophy, has also earned paychecks from his books. Even in his playing days, he was writing. In 1975, he co-wrote Maverick, which the New York Times recommended for “nostalgia.”
His most recent book is 2014’s Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success, written with Hugh Delehanty. The two also wrote 2006’s Sacred Hoops: Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior.
As The Los Angeles Times reported in 2010, Jackson had a history of giving his players books to read. He raided a Los Angeles book store to give his players reading material for a long trip. He gave Kobe Bryant Larry Watson’s Montana 1948 and Pau Gasol got Roberto Bolano’s 2666. Ron Artest got Sacred Hoops and Lamar Odom got Walter Mosley’s The Right Mistake.