Bookshelf: Sacred Hoops. Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior by Phil Jackson.

Academic training involves a lot of reading. But I was way too curious to just stick with the sometimes dull material I had to read for my studies. Driven to find out why things are the way they are and why we as humans do what we do, I constantly tried to expand my horizon by exploring all sorts of other non-fiction writing. Biographies, books on psychology, spirituality, sports, self-development, entrepreneurship etc..

On this blog I will occasionally share some of the books that have made a profound impression on me. I’ll start with one of my favourite sports books written by Phil Jackson: Sacred Hoops. Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior.

Phil Jackson is considered as one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time. With 11 NBA-Championship rings (two as a player, nine as a coach) he certainly is the most successful. During his time as head coach of the legendary Chicago Bulls (with Jordan, Pippen & Rodman) and the Los Angeles Lakers (with Bryant & O’Neal) he developed strategies that transcended what you would usually expect to get taught in sports practice sessions. 

Besides traditional training concepts, Jackson integrated Native American philosophy (being born and raised in North Dakota, he elaborates on spiritual lessons of the Lakota tribe in particular) and Zen Buddhism into his approach which in turn helped to keep the big egos of stars like Jordan and Pippen at bay and turn them into selfless team players. One aspect of forming his teams into championship squads was by calling on the player’s need to connect to something bigger than themselves.

What I like about Jackson’s idea is that he didn’t shy away from including ideas and concepts that - on the surface - went beyond the scope of his initial field of expertise. The successes he’s had speak for themselves. It is an approach that I value a lot, and that should be getting more attention, no matter the context. One Lakota seer Jackson cites in his book put it best: „Our quest, our earth walk, is to look within, to know who we are, to see that we are connected to all things, that there is no separation, only in the mind“ (Sacred Hoops, p. 109).

Bibliographical info: Phil Jackson: Sacred Hoops. Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior, New York, NY 1995.