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The Legendary Phil Jackson

The best coach in the National Basketball Association officially announced his retirement last night, and it’s time for us to say “Congratulations Phil Jackson!”  That isn’t just because his 1,155 wins and career .704 winning percentage is the best in NBA history, it’s also because North Dakota is proud of this hometown hero and hopes he has a heck-of-a-fun retirement!

Jackson was raised in Williston, North Dakota, and began his legendary basketball career there – leading the high school team to two state titles.  Jackson went on to the University of North Dakota (in Grand Forks), where he helped the team to third- and fourth-place finishes in the NCAA Division II tournaments in 1965 and 1966.

In 1967, Jackson was drafted by the New York Knicks.  He played professionally for 13 years and in 1987 began a coaching career with the Chicago Bulls that included a promotion to head coach in 1989.  Jackson coached the Bulls to 6 championships in nine seasons.

In 20 years of coaching (9 with the Chicago Bulls and 11 with the Los Angeles Lakers), Jackson notched 11 championships and numerous other accolades.  He coached some of the best in professional basketball, including Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.

In 1992, Jackson was honored with a Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award.  His portrait hangs in the Rough Rider Hall of Fame, on the lower level of the Capitol building.

While we honor this great coach from Williston whose career took him across the nation, we recognize that dream starts wherever you play – including here in Bismarck with the NBA D-League Team, the Dakota Wizards.

 

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Happy 65th Birthday to Phil Jackson!

Wildly considered one of the greatest coaches in the history of the NBA, Legendary Phil Jackson turns 65 today! Before his professional career took off, Jackson grew up and attended high school in Williston, North Dakota and proceeded to play basketball at the University of North Dakota.

Now, head coach of the Lakers, Jackson earned his 11th NBA championship (as coach) when the Lakers overtook the Boston Celtics this year in the 2010 NBA championship. He will continue to coach the Lakers for the 2010-11 season which begins in late October.

Experience North Dakota’s own professional D- league team, the Dakota Wizards! They jump-start their season on November 19 against the Iowa Energy at the Bismarck Civic Center. This will be a year not to miss out!

 
 

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Pressure On or Off? Phil Jackson and the NBA Finals

The pressure could be on for proud North Dakota native, Phil Jackson, head coach for the NBA Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers were defeated by the Boston Celtics in the 5th game of the NBA finals last night (82- 96). However, this North Dakota Roughrider Award winner is no stranger to these situations. This is Jackson’s 13th appearance at the NBA Finals in his coaching career, with 10 championships under his belt. My guess is that he will pull this 2010 championship off without losing too much sleep, pressure is something that dates back to his UND Fighting Sioux days. We are rooting for you Phil as you and the Lakers go into the 6th game of the finals on Tuesday, 9pm ET. We are proud to call you Legendary!

 

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UND former player named MVP as Chicago wins Stanley Cup

With a 4-3 overtime win in Philadelphia last night, Jonathan Toews and the Blackhawks captured the Stanley cup championship. It was the first Cup for the Blackhawks in 49 years. Toews was just 19- years old and an All-American that played for North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux when the Blackhawks signed him in the summer of 2007. Just 3 years later, 22- year old Toews first accepted the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. Then, he returned to the podium to accept hockey’s greatest prize. Toews is the 24th member and the youngest to be called “Triple Gold Club”, something they call players who have won the World Men’s Championship, Olympics and Stanley Cup. Toews is the first WCHA player to ever captain a team to a Stanley Cup. He’s also the first WCHA player to win Conn Smythe.

 

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Celebrate the Silver with the Lamoureux twins!

The University of North Dakota and Team USA forwards Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux will be celebrating their recent silver medla finish at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games tonight at the Fighting Sioux men’s hockey game versus Michigan Tech.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. (30 minutes earlier than usual) for a pre-game autograph session on the Northeast concourse that will end at 7 p.m.  Autograph cards will be provided and both will be available for photographs.

There will also be a special on-ice presentation during the first intermission including a special video presentation.

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2010 in Events, Family Fun, Winter Fun

 

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Olympic hockey has us cheering

They wore the same colors when they played for the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux, but last night Zach Parise (USA) and Jonathan Toews (Canada) were on opposing sides.  One of the most talked-about matches at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver was the USA vs. Canada men’s ice hockey pairing, which the U.S.’s came away from victorious, 5-3.  For North Dakotans – it’s fun watching former stand-outs from the “home team.”  So far at these Olympic games, Parise has three assists on his record and Toews has four.

Twin sisters, Monique (7) and Jocelyne Lamoureux, photo by Brad Olson

Today, the U.S. women’s team will face Sweden in playoff semifinals.  North Dakota’s Lamoureux sisters Jocelyne and Monique have aided the U.S.’s overwhelming goal-count at these games.  Monique has notched up one goal and six assists, with Jocelyne netting two goals, two assists.

 

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More North Dakota-Olympic Connections

With just four days until the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, we’re giving you a couple more athletes with North Dakota connections to watch (and cheer) for.

Natalie Nicholson is an American curler from Bemidji, Minn. who earned her nursing degree from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.  Curling competition begins February 16.

Ice hockey skater Zach Parise also attended the University of North Dakota, and now plays left wing for the New Jersey Devils.  Parise was a standout player with the Fighting Sioux hockey team of UND.  Mens hockey preliminary rounds begin February 16.

 
 

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