Back in the 2011 NBA playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers season ended after a disappointing sweep at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks. Apparently playing the eventual NBA champions that season wasn’t the only thing weighing on the Lakers minds, as head coach Phil Jackson reveals that he informed the team that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, per a report from Kevin Ding of the OC Register:
Jackson was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March 2011. After doctors assured him the cancer could be controlled by drugs temporarily, Jackson waited until after the season to undergo surgery.
Jackson decided to divulge his situation to his players when he sensed the team was lacking something in the playoffs.
“Shocking,” Pau Gasol said Saturday, remembering Jackson’s disclosure to the team. “But then you also could understand certain moments of his demeanor, energy and involvement because of what he was going through health-wise. It explained certain things. It was a shock. A difficult moment for the team.”
Whoa. That’s pretty heavy for a team to handle, especially one that was facing as much adversity that the Lakers were that season. It also explains why Jackson chose to walk away from coaching at the time.
Lately Jackson has expressed an interest in returning to basketball in some capacity, and if he does return hopefully his health is up to the task.
H/T to ProBasketballTalk
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