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Posted 26 Mar 2001   For week ended March 23, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 22Mar01

By Kent Larsen

Phil Jackson's 'Education' for Madsen

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson loves books, and has made a habit of giving his players books once or twice a year, both to let them know that he thinks about them as people, and, hopefully, to give them a different perspective on life. His first gift to Laker's rookie Mark Madsen recognized Madsen's membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while trying to give Madsen a different perspective.

"Mark Madsen, our rookie forward from Stanford, is a Mormon," Jackson says. "So I gave him Zane Gray's "Riders of the Purple Sage." I wanted him to get a perspective on how the Mormons were perceived by people in the West years ago. You know, different from now. He's fro California, not Utah. He read the book--he's just terrific that way--and he was like, 'I didn't realize that the rest of the people looked upon Mormons that way.' " The classic western takes a generally unfavorable view of Mormons, who abduct women in the 1912 novel.

Jackson says he doesn't think all his players read what he gives them, "I know some guys didn't read them," Jackson says. "But I told them: 'I'm not going to check up on you. I just want you to know some day that there is a book there for you. That I was thinking of you. That's all.' "

Interviewed by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Rick Telander, Jackson expounded on why he thinks reading is so important, even for his players, "The majority of players find it difficult to find time to dedicate to reading," he says. "Their lives move so fast. They're not too busy, but they're too distracted. I always read before I go to sleep, but our kids now have more toys than we ever thought possible. They have these wonderful DVD players for watching beautiful movies. Guys bring the players and 10 movies on trips and watch them on the airplane. But reading is a stimulation that is very important to your growth. The other stuff is passive, just absorption. Reading is a dialogue with a writer. It's thinking. It's an active process between a reader and another person."


Jackson wants Lakers to do it by the book
Chicago IL Sun-Times 22Mar01 S2
By Rick Telander: Sun-Times Columnist


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See also:
Riders of the Purple Sage
More about Zane Grey's "Riders of the Purple Sage" at

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information