In Which Phil Jackson Sends Jay On A Quest

Little did Jackson know that things would jumpstart before the game, when Bryant sat by his locker in the United Center. I told Bryant what Jackson had said a few minutes earlier, that Kobe still has a case of ``Chicago fever.’’ It was a cryptic comment, even by Jackson’s weird standards, in that everyone involved with the Lakers has tried to bury the notion that Kobe still wants out of Los Angeles. - Jay Mariotti

Phil Jackson is a bloody genius.

One can only imagine the horrific nausea experienced by the Lakers coach upon realizing that he had been inconveniently corned by Jay Mariotti at the United Center last night. And rather than deal with insincere blather from the back page pundit that undoubtedly would’ve ended up as half-truth tirade laced fodder for this morning’s column*, Zen Master Phil sent disciple Jay on a special quest to irritate the inner peace of another loathed equally self-absorbed individual instead.

Scurrying as fast as those chubby short legs would carry him without overtly straining an already arterial clogged challenged cardiovascular system, Jay most assuredly broke quite a sweat upon finding Kobe Bryant.

The merging of two uber-egocentric knuckleheads must have been quite the sight with Jay regurgitating Phil’s benign comment regarding that mysterious next “chapter” over to manchild basketball idiot-savant Kobe Bryant intently listening.

And Bryant of course didn’t fail to deliver the goods. Mistaking Jay for a legitimate sports journalist, he predictably prattled about maintaining a desire to bolt Los Angeles for the mythical greener pastures of becoming a member of the Chicago Bulls.  And only Mariotti could justify Bryant’s proclamation of desiring “to go about it in a professional way” in terms of playing out this season on the west coast. Evidently to Bryant, it is quiet reasonable for a professional athlete paid millions of dollars to play basketball to complain and whine in a shopping mall over the atrocity of being a Los Angeles Laker while finding nothing out of sort desperately pining to leave his precious band of “brothers”.

The irony is rich. Mariotti actually believes he broke a sports story facetiously choreographed by Jackson to further alienate the Lakers locker room away from Bryant in order to prepare his team for the impending post-Kobe era.  Indeed it must have been quiet a wild celebration later that night in the bunker with Vinyl Ben for joyous Jay unearthing his “scoop”. However, while either resting in a Chicago hotel room or flying a few thousand feet overhead, Phil assuredly broke a grin over beating the Bulls once again with the added bonus of playing both Mariotti and Bryant like cheap violins.

Well done Phil. Well done.

Holiday cheers and kudos to your stroke of brilliance.