Phil Jackson, Lakers Assistant Once Revealed Why NBA Blackballed Ex-Player

Phil Jackson Jeanie Buss

Getty Phil Jackson pictured with ex-girlfriend Jeanie Buss.

Late great Tex Winter was the architect who created the triangle offense that was implemented in runs for Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls in the 1990s and in the early 2000s Kobe Bryant-Shaquille O’Neal era of Los Angeles Lakers basketball.

Winter introduced it to Phil Jackson and the rest is in history.

Chicago Bulls Coaching Candidates & NBA Draft PositionHeavy on Bulls discusses the Chicago Bulls coaching search and has live reaction to the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery. Two-time Bulls NBA champion Craig Hodges and contributor Brian Mazique join hosts Brandon "Scoop B" Robinson and Ben Doody.2020-08-21T01:56:56Z


Winter wasn’t just an architect of the triangle, he also tried to mend fences.

Such was the case with retired NBA player Craig Hodges.

An NBA champion with the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls in the ’90s, it is believed that Hodges was blackballed by the NBA after he handed a letter to former President George H.W. Bush during the Bulls’ championship visit to the White House. The contents of the letter, according to Hodges, made Bush aware of the mistreatment of poor people and people of color in the United States.

How Does One Know When He Is Blackballed in the NBA?

“I talked to Tex Winter, it’s probably October 1992 when we should be going to training camp,” Hodges told Ben Doody, Brian Mazique and myself on the Heavy With Scoop B Show.

GettyKobe Bryant and Tex Winter of the Los Angeles Lakers talk during a game played circa 2000 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

“I hadn’t been signed by anybody, had two World Championships and three consecutive three-point titles at that time and I couldn’t get an agent to represent me. My union told me that I needed an agent that a team owed a favor so they would know that I’m not a bad guy. So it was things like that. And likewise I’m a student of history,” Hodges said.

“But it’s one of those things where in 1991 and 1992, the way that I had played, the way that I carried myself, I was the player rep for the team and all of the four teams that I had played for, never in my wildest dreams did I think that I wasn’t going to be an unrestricted free agent when the Bulls released me and someone would pick me up. It wasn’t like I said until October when I talked to Tex Winter and he said that he called every team on my behalf as well as Phil Jackson and he said no team would return their calls. They found that extremely odd.

“So for me, when I look at the difference between myself and Colin Kaepernick, Mahmoud [Abdul-Rauf] as well, I feel like we had and we still have valid grievances, valid conversations that need to be had about why our careers ended in such a way where you effectively changed the trajectory of my children’s life as far as generational wealth is concerned. And I think that needs to be questioned as well as the fact [that] your union doesn’t stand up for you. To me, that’s a whole sign of collusion, that was something that when I sued the league in 1997, the attorney that I had was disbarred from the state of Illinois and in fact tried to strike a deal with David Stern as opposed to standing up upon my behalf.”

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