He didn’t appear on a basketball card until several years later when his bushy hair and huge mustache just screamed 1970s but Phil Jackson sported a much different look at a rookie out of North Dakota in 1967.
Clean-cut, 60s Phil posed for a publicity photo that had been largely lost to time but one such example is now up for sale.
The RMY Auctions Photo of the Day shows Jackson as a New York Knicks rookie, wearing his Converse sneakers as he kneels with his hand on a basketball. He was already wearing the number 18 he’d carry with him throughout a career that lasted until the spring of 1980.
Jackson was drafted by the Knicks out of Division II North Dakota not long before the photo was taken. Under the guidance of future NBA coach Bill Fitch, Jackson and the Fighting Sioux went to the national tournament twice, losing both times to Southern Illinois–including a 1965 matchup that saw Jackson face off against Walt Frazier, who would become his Knicks teammate a couple of years later.
At 6’8 and 220 pounds, Jackson was a good fit for the NBA, although he stayed in the league for so long thanks mostly to his aggressive defense and hustle plays that made him a fan favorite at Madison Square Garden during the Knicks strong run of success in the early 1970s.
Better known to those under a certain age as a winner of 11 NBA titles as coach of the Chicago Bulls and later, the Los Angeles Lakers, Jackson is now 73 and no longer working directly for an NBA team, although he is reported to have recommended Ty Lue to Lakers management as the team’s next head coach.
The photo is one of more than 1,000 on the block through Saturday at RMY Auctions.