SACRED HOOPS by Phil Jackson

SACRED HOOPS

Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Chicago Bulls coach Jackson (with People editor Delehanty) offers an unusual mixture of New Age advice and basketball knowledge, a sort of Zen and the Art of Pro Hoops. Perhaps the most important thing that Jackson has learned in his many years of basketball, first as a player for the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets, then as a coach in both the minor and major leagues, is that ``winning is ephemeral.'' That is a refreshing attitude for a pro sports coach to take, and it runs throughout this book. Jackson begins his story with Michael Jordan's return to the Bulls toward the end of last season, then flashes back to his own youth in North Dakota. The son of two deeply committed fundamentalist Christians, Jackson has spent much of his adult life trying to reconcile his upbringing with the lessons in Zen Buddhism that he has acquired. Couched in Zen metaphors, his message can be boiled down to two simple precepts: The team is more important than any one player (or coach), and you have to live in the moment, on and off the court, to get the most out of your experiences. Jackson explains succinctly how the Zen Buddhist concern with clearing the mind of impurities to focus on immediate sensation can be put to use in a range of situations. He is surprisingly adept at using examples from NBA play to illustrate seemingly arcane spiritual concepts and, given his resultsthree NBA titles in a row with Chicagoone hesitates to diss him too much. On the other hand, as this season's outcome reminds us, a rebounding power forward is as necessary to winning as a clear mind. Not the goofy, New Age tract you might expect, but probably too abstruse for most basketball fans, with too much basketball for spiritual seekers.

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 1995
ISBN: 0-7868-6206-8
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1995




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