While Phil Jackson finished up his first NBA season in the spring of 1968, all the kids were getting high while real political conspiracies played out. And in a very short cinematic release, a film called "Head" entered and exited the cultural chaos of the times without leaving much of a mark, just as Phil had not done much to get noticed with his 6 points and 4 rebounds in 15 minutes per game behind Willis Reed and Walt Bellamy. "Head" starred the Monkees, and featured a screenplay written by Jack Nicholson following a weekend with the band in which they consumed something like a a garbage bag full of pot and "brainstormed". Cut to 40 years later and it is hard not to think that not only Josh Howard, Joakim Noah, and 80 percent of the players get silly with the weed, but that maybe Jack and Phil get together for a few hits off the bong now and again.
You know Nicholson must be getting a buzz on at some point, with those sunglasses always there to counteract dilated pupils. Maybe the two of them get together in the back of Jack's limo pre-game, reliving the hazy days of the late sixties, and hyperventilating while laughing at comparisons of the present-day Lakers with the original Monkees.
Jack: That kid Vujacic is Davy Jones. I bet he even dances like Davy. You should make him dance Phil. Make it a part of his practice sessions. You'll see baby - he's got Davy Jones living right there inside him.
Phil: Yeah yeah. He's pretty enough with those perfect ****' eyebrows of his. I swear he gets that done on Rodeo. Radmanovic - he has a little of Mike Nesmith in him. I'll see if I can get him wearing toques.
Jack: Pau is Peter Tork if I ever saw a Peter Tork. He was the one that played his own instruments, but looking at him you'd never know it. Maybe he played too many - the bass, the banjo, keyboards. There was that awkwardness, like what am I noodling around with now? I see that at least once a game with the Spanish kid, like he can't quite figure out if he's going to make a power move or a little finesse.
Phil: Whoa - you blow my mind Jack. Whaddya say we make Luke into Mickey Dolenz then.
Jack: I'm a believer coach. I am a believer!
Well, my mind wanders to these kinds of wonderings after nights like that last one with the Lakers wrapping up their series against the Spurs. LA is down bigtime early, and Phil's got his three big weapons on the bench. And he doesn't flinch. Now how many coaches can get away with that kind of thing? Doug Collins starts to question it a little bit, but then makes it about how it's this kind of thing that makes Phil so good. It's all about trusting his bench. OK - of course. And sure enough it works out! And there's Barkley at the half proclaiming the zen-master's genius and his own utter bewilderment.
But wouldn't a stoner have done the same thing? Could that be the secret? Could that be where the zen comes from? When Phil came on for his interview between the third and fourth quarters, complaining about the Spurs getting to toss an extra free-throw that only could have happened in his imagination, well I had to think that maybe there was something enhancing how he was "seeing the game".
And if it works it works. Really I can't see THC being of any benefit to players within any game. But coaches? That might just work. Get Sam Mitchell some hash brownies, or put some in that yellow cake he loves so much.