Phil had control of the situation

Beat writers who covered Phil Jackson in Los Angeles quickly learned of his remarkable ability to compress any scenario, no matter how large or abstract, into a “situation.” If a bell went off every time he said “situation” his media sessions would have sounded like Westminster Abbey the day of the royal wedding. I purposefully threw a “situation” into my question to Jackson during his final postgame press conference last Sunday, as a form of tribute.

When I spent a full season with the Lakers in 2003-04, I kept a running tab of every time type of situation that Jackson created. Howard Beck, former Laker beat writer for the Los Angeles Daily News, asked me to dig up the list to help him with his New York Times retrospective on covering Phil Jackson. It reminded me that I never published the list in its entirety. But here, for the first time in public, is the full list of every “situation” from Jackson that I recorded during that memorable season, presented without context because it’s even more fun that way:

a non-basketball situation

a laissez-faire type of a situation

teamwork situations

a grandfather-clause situation

turnover situations

Kobe’s situational thing

the money situations

an abductor situation

refereeing situations

a see-saw situation

second-night situations

deficit situations

need situations

back-to-back situation

foul situation

practice situation

1-on-4 situation

injury situation

legal situation

foul-penalty situation

the Long Beach situation

a game-in, game-out situation

screen-roll situations

media situation

scramble situation

back situation

living-room situation

two-guard situation

double-team situations

playoff situation

Shaq-fouling-out situation

penalty situation

Shaquille’s free-throw-shooting situation

advantage situation

Houston situation

late-game situation

breakdown situations

turnover situation

free-throw-shooting situation

cross-match situation

multiple-injury situation