--Here's how Jackson handled Jordan's unexpected appearance at his Bulls office in March 1995 after more than 11/2 years away from the game to pursue baseball. "Well," Jackson said dryly after Jordan asked to return to the team, "I think we've got a uniform here that might fit you."
Much of the book, though, is about Bryant. How could it not be? Bryant has often been a polarizing figure in his 17-year career.
Jackson even talked about how the sexual-assault charges levied against Bryant in 2003 temporarily changed his outlook on the perennial All-Star.
It "cracked open an old wound" because Jackson's daughter was the victim of an assault while on a date with an athlete in college.
"Brooke expected me to get angry and make her feel protected. Instead I suppressed my rage -- as I'd been conditioned to do during childhood by my parents ... it left her feeling alone and unsupported. (In the end, after filing a report with the police, Brooke chose not to press charges.)
"The Kobe incident triggered all my unprocessed anger and tainted my perception of him. ... It distorted my view of Kobe throughout the 2003-04 season. No matter what I did to extinguish it, the anger kept smoldering in the background."
Charges were dropped against Bryant in 2004, a few months after the Lakers lost to Detroit in the NBA Finals.
The coach-player relationship eventually improved to the point that Jackson defended Bryant after his infamous trade demand in 2007. Bryant was irritated after three languid seasons and wanted to continue his championship pursuits elsewhere.
"No question, losing Kobe would be a blow to the organization and to me personally," Jackson wrote of that summer.
Still, though, Jackson probed Bryant's leadership deficiencies compared to Jordan.
"One of the biggest differences between the two stars from my perspective was Michael's superior skills as a leader," Jackson said. "Though at times he could be hard on his teammates, Michael was masterful at controlling the emotional climate of the team with the power of his presence. Kobe had a long way to go before he could make that claim. He talked a good game, but he'd yet to experience the cold truth of leadership in his bones, as Michael had."
Bryant gradually evolved during the 2008-09 championship season, when the Lakers successfully retooled with a more finessed look with Pau Gasol instead of the brute force of the Shaquille O'Neal teams.
If Bryant talked to teammates in his earlier Lakers years, it was usually, "Give me the damn ball," Jackson wrote. "But then Kobe started to shift. He embraced the team and his teammates, calling them up when we were on the road and inviting them out to dinner. It was as if the other players were now his partners, not his personal spear-carriers."
Jackson recalled hugging Bryant after the championship-clinching victory in Orlando.
"This was our moment of triumph, a moment of total reconciliation that had been seven years long in coming," Jackson said. "The look of pride and joy in Kobe's eyes made all the pain we'd endured in our journey together worth it."
Jackson called the Lakers' Game 7 victory over Boston in the 2010 Finals the most satisfying of his career, particularly after they were trounced by the Celtics two years earlier in the Finals.
The memoir ended with Dallas' numbing sweep of the Lakers in the 2011 Western Conference semifinals. Jackson had told the team two weeks earlier that he was battling prostate cancer. He became emotional while sharing it with players and wondered if it would affect them negatively because he showed such a vulnerable side.
The Lakers were able to close out their first-round series against New Orleans but were no match for Dallas.
"I'd never had one of my teams fall apart in such a strange and spooky way," he wrote.
It turned out to be Jackson's final season.
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