There is a myth Phil Jackson learned a lot of his coaching trade by sitting next to Red Holzman during the 1969-70 championship season, soaking up the Hall of Fame coach’s knowledge. Jackson was on the injured list all season after back surgery.
The truth is, Jackson learned more about photography than coaching.
“He was George Kalinsky’s assistant that year,” former Knick guard Mike Riordan recalls. “I don’t remember him on the bench or at practices.”
Indeed, Jackson worked closely with the Knicks’ legendary lensman and they collaborated that season on each other’s first book, a photo essay, “Take it All.” Of the few hundred photos, only a handful were Jackson’s. But Jax wrote the text.
Jackson also took the season’s most compelling photo, that of the nine-inch needle sticking out of Reed’s leg the night of classic Game 7.
“Red asked it not to be published,” said Kalinsky, whose newest book, “Garden of Dreams” has Reed’s classic hobbled walk onto the court on its cover. Jackson still has the negative and claims that Spike Lee offered him $10,000 for it. A source close to Jackson said the Zen Master believes the unpublished photo is worth more than $100,000.