Former Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson called his relationship with Kobe Bryant at times a "psychological war" and sought to trade Bryant in January, according to Jackson's diary, an excerpt of which will be published in next week's issue of Los Angeles magazine.
Phil Jackson, left, writes that he and Kobe Bryant eventually reached a truce but that it wasn't enough to win a title.
The diary of the 2003-04 season, "The Last Season: A Team in Search of Its Soul," will be published by Penguin Press and is due out later this month.
Jackson said the strain between him and Bryant led him to hire a therapist to consult with during the season, according to the Los Angeles Times, which printed excerpts from the magazine article in its Tuesday edition.
"I do know that there were many occasions this year when I felt like there was a psychological war going on between us," Jackson wrote. "Amazingly, we came to a truce, even to a higher level of trust. Ultimately, though, I don't believe we developed enough trust between us to win a championship."
Jackson wrote he became so frustrated with Bryant that he told general manager Mitch Kupchak in January, "I won't coach this team next year if he is still here. He won't listen to anyone. I've had it with this kid."
It was not the first time Jackson requested that the team trade Bryant. He sought to trade him to the Phoenix Suns for Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion in the 1999-2000 season.
But then-general manager Jerry West told Jackson that owner Jerry Buss would never trade the Lakers star, Jackson wrote in his diary. He said he was told the same thing last season.
During last week's training camp, Bryant said he misses Jackson.
"We've had our tough times, we had our share of arguments, but I've always respected him as a coach," he said.
Jackson became exasperated with the feuding between Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.
"At times the pettiness between the two of them can be unbelievably juvenile," he wrote.
Jackson wrote that Bryant was angry that O'Neal received allowances from the Lakers organization but that "nobody this year, or in any year I've coached, has received more 'allowances' than Kobe Bryant."
Among those allowances was the Lakers organization's partial payment for the private jets Bryant took to Colorado for the hearings in his rape case.
Bryant complained about the type of plane he was given to fly to Colorado, Jackson wrote, adding "He should feel fortunate that he's not footing the bill himself."
Jackson said he became conditioned to blame Bryant, even when it wasn't the player's fault.
The sexual assault charge against Bryant was dismissed last month at his accuser's request, but he still faces a civil lawsuit filed in Denver by the woman.
Bryant told Jackson that O'Neal's presence on the team would affect his decision to stay with the Lakers, adding, "I'm tired of being a sidekick," Jackson wrote.
Bryant has said he had no role in either Jackson's or O'Neal's departure from the team. Jackson retired, and O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat. Buss also said the decision to trade O'Neal was made independently of Bryant.
Jackson said that he had run-ins with O'Neal as well but that coaching him was "an experience I will cherish forever."