As a coach, Phil Jackson was perfect for the Chicago Bulls of the Michael Jordan era. He was less perfect, but still very good, when he tried to deal with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’ Neal as Lakers (Kobe joked that he sent Jackson to therapy).
Any way you cut it though he’s a Hall of Fame coach.
As a player?
Jackson came to the NBA out of North Dakota and was a solid member of the Knicks but hardly overwhelming. He got by on his intelligence, defense and hard work.
But he was also gawky, awkward and people assumed he was a hippie. He was to an extent but he was also supremely competitive.
And he’s the only guy, by the way, who has more rings than Bill Russell. Russell earned 11 as a player; Jackson had 13, but only two came as a player.
We can promise you Russell has noticed.