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Past their prime

Phil Jackson and Larry Brown are retiring -- on the job

Posted: Wednesday February 15, 2006 10:15AM; Updated: Thursday February 16, 2006 10:59PM
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Phil Jackson, Larry Brown
Phil Jackson and Larry Brown haven't had much to smile about this season.
Jackson: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images; Brown: AP

The retirement age in the United States is 65, but we all hope to retire much earlier. If you are Phil Jackson or Larry Brown, you can enjoy early retirement, and do so while still on the job.

There have been many coaches throughout the history of pro sports who hung around too long, whether for an extra few paychecks or some more glory. There is no shortage of either if you are coaching in the No. 1 and No. 2 markets in the country. In addition to having such high-brow gigs during the twilight of their careers, Jax and L.B. have mastered the art of squeezing every last dime out of the money tree. Ten million dollars a year is a lot of bread. It's a bakery if you consider how little these two men are actually doing to earn it.

I'll start with Brown. His mysterious departures from all of his previous gigs seemed to lend to his mystique as a great head coach. I am in no way talking down Brown's coaching achievements, but maybe he always left town before anyone had a chance to realize that he wasn't as good as advertised.

The Knicks are finding this out the hard way. With only 14 wins in their first 51 games, New York fans suddenly are beginning to wonder what all the fuss was about. Without an ounce of sarcasm I ask you: Given the Knicks' current assistant coaches, do you think you could get 14 wins as their head coach? I think I could. I think you could. I definitely think Herb Williams could. We would all do it for about $9.9 million less, too.

New York is a disaster of a basketball city right now. The Knicks' front office is a mess. Isiah Thomas is on the phone more than an operator, but to what avail? The Knicks have become the model of bad business, continually taking on larger and larger contracts for the same result -- a loss.

Most Knicks fans don't even know who is playing these days. Long gone are the days of Ewing, Mason, Oakley, Starks and Harper being written into the lineup card in Magic Marker at the start of the season. Brown has used 30 different starting lineups this season. He obviously isn't happy with any of them. Last week the coach was quoted as saying, "I never thought I would have to coach effort." Or is he?

On Monday night, a different Brown was quoted as saying, "I feel bad for the guys in the dressing room." Which is it, Larry? Because I am confused!