Phil Jackson new Knicks president


NEW YORK -- On his first day on the job, Knicks president Phil Jackson said he looks forward to delivering a winner to New York.

"There's no better place to win than New York City," said Jackson, who was officially announced as the team's president at a news conference Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.

"I can think of no better opportunity than the opportunities that I've had, three of the biggest cities and basketball franchises [in] Chicago, Los Angeles and now to come back where I started. It's a great feeling."

He confirmed that his contract is for five years. Financial terms weren't released, but sources told last week that he will receive $12 million annually.

Jackson and general manager Steve Mills will report directly to team owner James Dolan, the Knicks said. But Dolan and Jackson both noted Tuesday that Jackson will have autonomy, with Dolan adding that he will cede power to Jackson "willingly and gratefully."

Jackson has won a record 11 NBA titles as a coach and two as a Knicks forward. His 229 postseason wins and 13 NBA Finals appearances are more than the Knicks have in their 68-season history (186 wins, eight Finals berths), according to ESPN Stats & Information.

"I am by no means an expert in basketball," Dolan said. "I'm a fan, but my expertise lies in managing companies and new businesses. So I think I'm a little out of my element when it comes to the team. I've found myself in a position where I've needed to be more a part of the decision-making for a while. It wasn't something necessarily that I wanted to do. But as chairman of the company, I felt obligated to do it.

"I'm happy now that we have the team of Phil and Steve to do that, and my whole job here now is supporting them to win a championship."

Later, in an interview on ESPN 98.7 FM's "The Michael Kay Show," Dolan made it clear that Jackson would have full autonomy. 

"Phil Jackson is in charge of all basketball decisions. Period," the owner said.

The Knicks haven't won a title since Jackson captured his last as a player in 1973. On Tuesday, Jackson was asked if he was worried that failing to deliver a title with the Knicks would have a negative impact on his reputation.

"I think that this is an opportunity, and that's what I look at it as, not as a possible failure chance," the Hall of Fame coach said. "It's just a wonderful opportunity to do something that I love, and that's be with a basketball team, hopefully create a team that loves each other and plays with each other."

The Knicks' courtship of Jackson began in December when Dolan met Jackson at a party hosted by music mogul Irving Azoff. Dolan said he initially talked to Jackson about coaching the team but the conversation quickly moved to Jackson taking a front-office position.

Jackson, who said he's stayed away from coaching due in part to his physical condition (he said he's had five surgeries in recent years), grew intrigued with the possibility of running the team as he continued discussions with Dolan. Jackson added that at no point did he get into serious discussions with the Lakers about joining their organization.

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