It couldn’t have been more fun listening to Phil Jackson being "interviewed" by Dr. Bob Boyd yesterday. After accepting an honorary Doctorate of Letters degree from the University of North Dakota and delivered a speech on change at a convocation, Jackson was part of a "Great Conversation" at the Chester Fritz. He told stories about how he arrived at UND (rather than the University of Minnesota) as a scholar-athlete in the 60’s, earning the school’s first psychology/philosophy/religion degree, and about how he arrived as a coach in the NBA.
Jackson seemed to leave the audience wondering what to think at least a couple of times. Once when he suggested Dennis Rodman (not Michael Jordan) is the greatest athlete he ever coached and another time when he said the University is going to have to "rethink" its use of the Fighting Sioux nickname.
The coach famous for selecting books for his players to read is even more impressive than I thought he would be. Jackson’s "Great Conversation" is one of three at UND this year as the school celebrates its 125th anniversary, sandwiched in between author Salmon Rushdie this Spring and journalist Stephen Bloom next month.