In 1986, Phil Jackson said Knicks teams of the 70s deflated the ball

Wednesday January 28th, 2015

It seems the Deflategate tactics are not confined to football. Someone has dug up a 1986 interview with Phil Jackson, in which the then-CBA coach said the Knicks teams that he played on would often deflate the ball.

The quote comes from an article in The Chicago Tribune about cheating or "creative intervention" in basketball, featuring a tidbit from Jackson that would make Bill Belichick blush.

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"What we used to do was deflate the ball," recalls Phil Jackson, the cerebral reserve forward who was every bit as metaphysical as he was physical.

"We were a short team with our big guys like Willis, our center, only about 6-8 and Jerry Lucas also 6-8. DeBusschere, 6-6. So what we had to rely on was boxing out and hoping the rebound didn't go long."

"To help ensure that, we'd try to take some air out of the ball. You see, on the ball it says something like 'inflate to 7 to 9 pounds' We'd all carry pins and take the air out to deaden the ball."

Jackson got wind of the old quotes on Wednesday and said that while the team brought the ball to the lower end of the allowed range, it did not break any rules.
Brendan Maloy
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