Sports Reporters Debate Possibility Of Phil Jackson Taking On Role Of Raptors President
The announcement last week naming Tim Leiweke as new Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment President & CEO has created rumors about Phil Jackson being interested in joining the Raptors as team president. The possibility has been a topic of discussion on many sports TV and radio talk shows this week. ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, "If you want to be president of a team, I don't know why you would go to the Raptors. It's an awful team." ESPN's Michael Wilbon said if Lakers Exec VP/Player Personnel Jim Buss "is running the Lakers, Phil Jackson's not going to be the coach, so that option won't be there and maybe you look to your buddy" in Leiweke. He added, "It seems like Phil has this itch to get back to work. I would think the Lakers, but it's going to take some rearranging at the top before that happens" ("PTI," ESPN, 4/30). CBS Sports Network's Doug Gottlieb: "I think it may be the only fit to where he gets this type of power." Gottlieb added, "I do think that Toronto has a lot more to offer than probably about half the teams in the league." CBS Sports Net's Allie LaForce said, "He's not going to get the love and the basketball hype that he will in L.A." But she added, "In Toronto, there certainly is no room to go down so it can only get better from there and he won't fail" ("Lead Off," CBSSN, 4/30). ESPN's Israel Gutierrez: "I still don't think even his presence can do enough to attract big-name players to Toronto." ESPN's Pablo Torre said, "Being the Pat Riley of Canada doesn't have the same allure to it" ("Around the Horn," ESPN, 4/30).
SOMETHING GOOD? ESPN's Dan Le Batard said Jackson "is old now." Le Batard: "He doesn't want to coach necessarily the team, he can be president. But if he's going to be president, he wants it to be of a good team and he prefer that it be in the United States" ("Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable," ESPN2, 4/30). ESPN's Ryen Russillo said of Jackson, "He can go to Toronto where a guy running all of their sports organizations is a guy that he's had a close relationship with." Russillo added, "If there's no other opportunity out there for him, he's 67, he's bored, he wants to be around basketball, go ahead and take the Raptors gig if he's committed" ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 4/30). Comcast SportsNet Chicago's David Kaplan said of Jackson possibly going to the Clippers, "If you're the owner of the Clippers and you've taken a beating for so many years, Donald Sterling, and you've always been criticized, if you walked up to Phil and said, 'Blank check, my friend. Fill it in, you're running the whole deal.'" ESPN Chicago's Jon Greenberg: "Has Donald Sterling ever written a blank check?" ("Sports Talk Live," CSN Chicago, 4/30).