This is not your father's basketball coach. when his team is on
a losing streak, he lights incense in the secret cubbyhole of
the team room and tells the players he's "going to exorcise the
evil spirits" that possess them. In slightly less alarming
circumstances he gives his players books to read, hoping their
consciousness will be expanded by everything from Zen Mind,
Beginner's Mind to Beavis & Butt-Head: This Book Sucks. He hangs
Sioux artifacts on his office walls; he fills the team's
practice facility with so much tribal gear that Dances with
Wolves seems more likely to break out than a scrimmage. He
teaches meditation at least as earnestly as he teaches the
triple-post offense. He rides a BMW motorcycle but gives
visitors the impression that he travels more regularly by astral
projection. Different? He mourned last summer's losses of Mickey
Mantle and Jerry Garcia equally, and when he finally got around
to cashing in on his Chicago Bulls celebrity by writing a book,
he couldn't help but include the following advice: "If you meet
the Buddha in the lane, feed him the ball." It was, for him, the
equivalent of a clinic.
This is Phil Jackson, anticoach, the guy who makes New Age seem
old-fashioned. He's not really as touchy-feely as the news
reports suggest, but for a Chicago coach (face it, for any
coach), he's...out there. True story: The Bulls lose the first
game of the 1994 Eastern Conference semifinals in New York, and
on the way to practice in downtown Manhattan, Jackson diverts
the team bus and, for no reason the players can think of, takes
them on a ferry ride past the Statue of Liberty. (Of course,
Jackson has always been an unpredictable wheelman, going back to
his days with the Albany Patroons of the CBA, when he used to
drive the team van and work crossword puzzles.) It is no wonder
that Chapter 2 of his recent book, Sacred Hoops: Spiritual
Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior, written with Hugh Delehanty, is
titled "A Journey of a Thousand Miles Starts with One Breath."
And ends hard by Staten Island.
No, he is not your father's basketball coach. Can you imagine
Mike Ditka, while reaming out his team, yelling, "This is
insidious!" and then pausing to ask the players if they know
what the word means? "I want you to look it up and tell me
tomorrow," Jackson said, according to the book Transition Game
by Melissa Isaacson. What other coach would bring in a
stress-relief specialist to give his players breathing lessons?
Lectures on Zen Buddhism? Jackson tells the Bulls they must
rebound, and they lean forward in anticipation, trying to tease
the mystic lesson from his simple words. The players think hard;
they are used to riddles. There's more to life than basketball,
they've been told, and more to basketball than basketball.
Backup center Bill Wennington wants to say, "Phil, when you say
rebound, what exactly do you mean? Do you mean we must rebound
or rebound?" Sometimes, of course, he means only that they must
rebound. You just never know.
He's so odd that not even the authority of his 6'8" physical
presence--all hard angles, beard and rumbling voice--can cancel
out his persistent and contrary application of Eastern religion
to the Eastern Conference, at least in the public's eye.
Everywhere he has appeared lately he has been celebrated as a
kind of Zen master (a title he would hate, for he has not
achieved enlightenment yet, not this early in the playoffs), a
calm presence in the increasingly turbulent NBA, somebody from
another planet or at least a higher level of consciousness.
Every anecdote supports this idea: Jackson lights his smudge
stick of sagebrush to fight off bad vibes ("He truly believes in
the harbinger of protectors," says former Bulls assistant Johnny
Bach). He tells his team at practice that it will be "silence
day," and the players go about their drills wordlessly. Or he
explains the triangle offense to the great Michael Jordan,
saying it's based on the Taoist principle of yielding to an
opponent's force in order to render him powerless. Don't you get
it, Michael? It's five-man tai chi! The idea is that Jackson is
John Wooden channeling Yanni.
But whatever Jackson is doing, he's not doing it with crystals.
His team, after all, just set an NBA record of 72 regular-season
wins and swept through the first two rounds of the playoffs with
only one loss, earning comparisons with the greatest teams of
all time. Yet there's no way you can say Jackson--who, with
three NBA titles to his credit, was finally named Coach of the
Year this season--has the most talented team in history. He's
got the best player in the world in Jordan, and the game's best
second fiddle in Scottie Pippen. But if this team is as good as
the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, whose record of 69 wins the
Bulls eclipsed, you might wonder who their Wilt Chamberlain is.
Luc Longley? The Bulls are old (the oldest team in the league,
at an average of 29.86 years) and not a little decrepit. Not a
dynasty on paper.
And, for an alltime team, they're a little nutty. Pippen, in a
sulk, once refused to reenter a critical playoff game with the
outcome on the line. For that matter, how much success would you
predict for a franchise that gambles on a 34-year-old,
one-dimensional, multihued wack job like Dennis Rodman? This is
a guy who flouts more convention in a day than Jackson has
subverted in a lifetime. Airing his dogs in a playoff game?
Head-butting a referee? Appearing in drag at his book-signing
session? Rodman, the human pincushion, takes the potential for
disaster wherever he goes. His entertainment value is high, but
not too many coaches got into this game to be ringmasters.
And yet, and yet--the Bulls so dominate the league with their
creativity, their harmony, their drive, that you must look
beyond even Jordan's influence as a competitor to explain their
success. Could it be that this preacher's son, this guy called
the Human Coat Hanger in his athletic prime, this Phil Jackson,
is on to something?
"Well," he says quietly, "everyone needs an angle."
Jackson's office is not quite the shrine to Indian Affairs
everybody makes it out to be. A few artifacts, yes, but most are
in the Bulls' private team room: a wooden arrow with a tobacco
pouch tied to it, a bear-claw necklace, an owl feather, a
painting that tells the story of Crazy Horse, and some pictures
of a white buffalo calf, the most sacred animal in Sioux lore.
"Lots of Indian stuff" is how Bulls general manager Jerry
Krause, who is somewhat more of this world, characterizes the
team room's decor. But it's not a Native American museum,
exactly. All the really good Indian stuff is inside ol' Swift
Swift Eagle--Jackson got the Lakota Sioux warrior's name when he
and former New York Knicks teammate Bill Bradley conducted a
basketball clinic at a reservation in South Dakota more than 20
years ago--has used his knowledge of Indian culture to promote
the idea of a sacred quest among his players. Indeed, the book
title Sacred Hoops refers not to the hoops in Chicago's United
Center but to the Native American metaphor for the loop of life,
the "circle of existing things." No doubt this doesn't play any
better with some of the Bulls than do the coach's bedrock
beliefs as a "Zen Christian." (Jackson says he finds true
spirituality in the intersection of the Zen high principle of
awareness with the Christian high principle of love.) But it
does stretch certain boundaries in the constricted world of the
Take Rodman, whose idea of haute couture would have been
horrifying in the strict Pentecostal household in which Jackson
grew up back in North Dakota. But rather than feel threatened by
a walking mural whose devotion to leather is exceeded only by
that of the cows, Jackson finds for Rodman a useful and
protective parallel in Sioux culture. Jackson told The New York
Times recently that Rodman is much like the Sioux's heyoka, the
cross-dressing, backward-walking tribal clown. "He was
respected," Jackson said, "because he brought a reality change."
Hearing that, the more cynical of us lean forward, not to tease
out the wisdom in Jackson's little epiphanies but to look for a
wink. None comes. His relentless sincerity washes away most
skepticism. Yes, he's a coach, and, as he says, everyone needs
an angle, even your occasional Zen Christian. But it's clear
that he believes whatever he happens to be saying. He has
gathered no players to his religion, but they give him more
respect than most coaches enjoy. The first time Jackson had the
Bulls meditate, he noticed Jordan sneaking peeks at his
teammates to see if they were buying into it. Jordan was stunned
to see that they were. He closed his eyes and retreated into his
own visualization, possibly his winning shot in the 1982 NCAA
championship game. Who knows, his head.
Jackson has developed his spirituality--his angle?--over a
lifetime of religious and philosophical investigation, but
preacher's son though he may be, he is not particularly
evangelical. He does not seek conversions among his players but
hopes for a selfless, being-in-the-moment kind of team that is,
when you think about it, grounded almost as much in the
teachings of Red Holzman, Jackson's former coach with the
Knicks, as in those of Lao-tzu. A lecture on the Tao of
basketball might strike the rest of the world as the ramblings
of an eccentric, but it is no more disturbing to basketball
players than the usual "there is no I in team" gibberish.
Jackson's Zen principles of clearing the mind certainly would
not frighten Yogi Berra, who once observed, "How can you think
and hit at the same time?" And what does "being in the moment"
mean if not being alert to the ever-changing geometry of the
Bulls' triangle offense? Oooof! Where did that pass come from?
Be in the moment!
Wennington agrees. "It's pretty straightforward stuff, really,"
he says. "Just relax and play. The other day [Jackson] gave us
this saying from Walt Whitman: 'We do not make good fortune, we
are good fortune.' Or something along those lines. I guess it
means we need to work hard to bring it out." It's just a guess,
The players can get a handle on the need to focus; that's more
common sense than voodoo. "Concentrate on what's happening now,
not what happened two plays ago, not what is going to happen in
five minutes," Wennington continues. "When you go to the foul
line, forget about who fouled you, or how hard. Just make your
foul shots. Play for the now, and put yourself in a relaxed
state of mind, where you are able to do your job."
Nor do Jackson's references to Native American culture--what a
metaphysical stew this team is served!--break new ground.
Likening the Bulls to a Lakota tribe appeals to the players,
and, indeed, like those old warriors, the Bulls have their own
secret rites (before every game, away from the coaches, they put
their hands together and do a team chant) and sacred quest (a
fourth NBA title in six years). One of Jackson's favorite
stories, the one about the Sioux crossing half of Montana to nab
a rival tribe's string of ponies just for the fun of it, is like
nothing so much as an NBA road trip (except that the Bulls
travel in a specially outfitted Boeing 727). Jackson constantly
invokes the way of the warrior, though he does not press the
custom under which the bravest and most honorable of the tribe
must give away their prized possessions. That is best left to
the Lakota, who knew a big balloon payment awaited them in the
Jackson, sitting behind his desk after a practice while his
golden retriever, Bo, runs in and out of the office, admits this
metaphysical business can be kind of scary when combined with
the usual coaching modus operandi, which is less freewheeling.
But he insists there's nothing truly alarming about his M.O.,
and perhaps nothing truly different. What is religion, anyway,
he asks, but a "technique" to get through life, a set of
principles and beliefs that are comforting? "What do you do in a
Roman Catholic service?" he asks. "All that incense? It's
mystery. Part of life is getting sucked into something with
others. What we try to do with our group is breathe together,
share the same space, find something outside just playing
basketball on the court. This 'spiritual stuff' brings an act of
community to us."
This, too, the players understand. "He does provide a sense of
camaraderie," says B.J. Armstrong, who played six seasons for
Jackson before going to the more prosaic (and losing)
environment of the Golden State Warriors. As for the others?
Jackson doubts that Jordan--who because of his
bigger-than-Buddha role had to be converted to Jackson's side to
make the coach's situation tenable--is going to embrace Zen
beliefs anytime soon. But Jackson was certain, almost from the
moment he took over the team seven years ago, that Jordan would
not fight his techniques. "Michael really likes the community
aspect of basketball," Jackson says. "He likes doing stuff with
males. And the reality is, there's a certain amount of
noncommunicative energy that goes on among all of us. That's
spiritual--what joins us together as human beings, allows us an
extraordinary group effort. Michael buys into that."
It's well known that not every Bull buys into everything Jackson
does or says. Every year he tries to match his players with just
the right literature--giving guard Steve Kerr All the Pretty
Horses by Cormac McCarthy; former Bulls backup center Will
Perdue, On the Road by Jack Kerouac; and guard John Paxson, Zen
& the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. But
Scottie Pippen admitted in an on-line interview recently that he
not only hadn't read his book this year, he also couldn't
remember what it was (one year it was Ways of the White Folks by
Langston Hughes). Armstrong doesn't remember his books, either.
"I remember getting them, then thinking, Let's get back to the
real world," he says. "I mean, I liked what [Jackson] did, liked
hearing how he saw his world. He always gave you something to
ponder. But as for affecting me personally, it had no bearing."
Anyway, there are suspicions that Jackson's reputation as some
kind of swami is beside the point. "I tend to believe that
winning covers a multitude of sins," says Armstrong. "When you
win, then you can search for your bigger meaning." He believes
Jackson has merely incorporated some of the Zen teamwork
philosophy into traditional coaching. "What Phil's good at is
being task-oriented," the ex-Bull says. "He is extremely
businesslike, extremely professional. On Phil's team everybody
knows his role. Like Rodman: He rebounds and plays defense.
You're a piece of the puzzle, for that particular year. If you
know your role, you can be successful there."
No other coach in the NBA uses his bench so exhaustively, and to
such effect. "From one to 12, Phil keeps everybody ready," says
reserve center John Salley, who found himself guarding Knicks
center Patrick Ewing in the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the
Bulls' recent playoff series against New York. Another reserve,
Jack Haley, agrees: "Show me another NBA team that plays 12 guys
in such a crucial game. He knows we're 0 for our last 10 shots,
and the Knicks are on a 13-0 run, yet he brings in Wennington,
who hasn't played almost the entire game. Bill hits two big
baskets. [Phil] puts in [reserve guard] Randy Brown to play
defense on Charlie Ward, and Randy scores eight points. Phil is
a master at keeping guys on the end of the bench focused and
ready to play." Adds Salley: "On this team you feel like you're
worth something even if you're the 12th man."
Jackson doesn't play the scrubs just because their parents came
to the game. He is extremely calculating in his playing
patterns. Players do have roles, and while Salley and Haley
might be delirious to participate in any way, not everybody
likes to be limited. Armstrong didn't. But you do not win 72
games by taping poetry to the players' lockers, trotting out
Jordan and hoping Rodman doesn't pick this night to impersonate
Hannibal Lecter. The Bulls' way is not all warm and fuzzy, with
players burning incense sticks at the far end of the bench.
Jackson admits that ever since childhood he has been on
championship teams, and he doubts that is a coincidence. "I must
be competitive," he says. In a coach, this means being a
perfectionist, which is daunting to the players--but highly
acceptable when they win championships. The Bulls are a "very
tight ship," Armstrong says. "Even people who work in the
organization are not allowed to watch practice. [Jackson's]
criticism was always positive, but there was a need to be
perfect, a sense of never being satisfied. And that's good. I
learned how to be a professional from that. I learned that when
you have a chance to win, you do what you have to. Like I say,
winning covers up everything."
The perfectionism at practice is endured just because of that
winning. It pays off. Salley says that when the Bulls were
struggling during Game 4 of the Knicks series, Jackson "came
over to the bench with 10 minutes to go, and he was smiling,
because he knew we were prepared. Before the game he just told
us, 'Do what we prepared you to do.' That's all he had to say."
And that's pretty much the point. Nobody has to love Jackson's
book, agree with him or come to practice in Indian headdress. As
long as the experience is communal, as long as the commitment to
winning is shared, Bulls basketball works. In other words,
Jackson could just as easily be promoting Amway to his players;
it's not the product that matters so much as the old conspiracy
between salesman and satisfied customer. Even when Jackson is
taking time out from practice to deliver an A&E-type lecture
about Casimir Pulaski on Pulaski Day in Chicago, it's shared
time. The Bulls are all in this together.
Jackson's longtime friend and collaborator, Charley Rosen (who
cowrote Jackson's coming-of-age memoir, Maverick, more than 20
years ago and coached with Jackson in the CBA), despairs over
the press Jackson has been getting. "I can't see him describing
himself as a Zen master," Rosen says. "He's enlightened? The
last thing we wrote in Maverick was something to the effect that
he would be a student all his life. It is the journey that
matters in the end. This is all just a way for the media to put
him in a box, to contain him." Anyway, the accuracy or
inaccuracy of this image might be beside the point. "While I
believe that players listen to him, that everyone has a
spiritual impulse, that they like a certain peace in this crazy
cultural whirlpool, I also know that if the Bulls won only 15
games, he'd be in trouble," says Rosen.
In fact, in the NBA, Jackson has always won many more than 15
games a season, coaching or playing. In fact, his pedigree as a
championship player with Holzman's Knicks in 1970 and '73
allowed him some breathing space with a wary and skeptical
Jordan when Jackson took over the Bulls in 1989 after two years
as a Chicago assistant. In fact, Jackson's history as a
determined athlete is what allowed him back in the NBA after his
first book painted him in fashions that were more tie-dyed than
Krause, then a supersecretive scout for the Baltimore Bullets
(well before he became the supersecretive general manager of the
Bulls) saw Jackson play at North Dakota and wanted to draft him
for the Bullets (Holzman beat him to it). Krause still liked
Jackson many years later, when he was refining his act as coach
in the CBA--the "cockroach league," as Jackson has called it.
Krause recognized Jackson as a motivator and a shrewd judge of
people and talent. Jackson's scouting reports from the CBA
struck Krause as marvels of character judgment. Yet when Krause
tried to bring Jackson on board as a Bulls assistant in 1985,
then-coach Stan Albeck freaked at the sight of this bearded...
hippie. Two years later, when Jackson was ready to bail out on
the Patroons and try law school, Krause called him for another
shot with the Bulls, now under coach Doug Collins. "This time,"
Krause says, "I told him to come clean, no Panama hat. I also
told him the right words to say to Doug. It was the last time I
ever coached him."
Two years after that, even though the Bulls had won 47 games in
the '88-89 season, Collins was dismissed and Jackson installed.
And a strange feeling-out process began as Jackson and Jordan
looked each other over. It was tense because the new coach was
asking Jordan to integrate himself into this weird triangle
offense that Bulls assistant Tex Winter had developed. The idea
was to push the ball into the path of least resistance, not to
use the power game that was then in favor in the NBA, and to let
the ball flow to other players besides Jordan. Jackson was
convinced that to win really big, the Bulls had to become less
of a one-man team (or, as Bach put it, resort less to "the
archangel offense"). Jordan didn't mind giving up a few of his
points; he was just uncertain who among his teammates was
capable of picking them up.
But Jackson had all the leverage in any negotiation with his
star player. Jackson knew how to win NBA championships; Jordan,
at that point, did not. "More than anything," Jackson says,
"Mike wanted us to find a way to win. He knew other guys had to
score. He was willing to make that sacrifice. But he had to see
it work, had to have something to hang his hat on."
More than that, Jackson realized, Jordan was anything but an
out-of-control ego. "He likes what team basketball is all
about," Jackson says. "And, having been on a championship team
[at North Carolina], he knows the joy of winning. He was
pliable, coachable." And even though Jordan didn't recognize it,
he was already in line with most of Jackson's teachings, an
unwitting disciple. He was Zen Air if ever there was such a
thing: implacable and focused, the peaceful warrior Jackson
believes every player ought to be. Soon Jordan was watching
Pippen push the ball upcourt, demonstrating his ability to
create breaks, and the Bulls' juggernaut was born.
By now Jordan and Jackson are inextricably linked in the Bulls'
success. When Jordan left in October 1993 to play baseball, the
Bulls faltered, although not nearly so much as they should have.
They made the second round of the playoffs in both 1994 and,
after Jordan's return late in the season, 1995. But Jackson,
whose contract is up after this year, got to thinking during
Jordan's absence that he was not long for this game. "If you
asked me last February if I was going to continue to coach, I'd
have given you a long look and said, 'Probably not,'" Jackson
says. Similarly, as Jackson has waged a dignified but
non-Lakota-like campaign to increase his earnings substantially
with a new two-year contract, Jordan, whose contract is also
expiring, has said he'll go wherever Jackson goes. The prospect
of either man leaving Chicago is unlikely. Still, theirs is the
kind of two-way loyalty that Jackson doesn't dare preach,
because who in this time of transience would ever believe it?
It's like the Hopi say: You can't pick up a pebble with one
As the NBA has gotten richer, making the average player a
millionaire, a certain star ethic has taken hold of the league,
taken hold right around its throat. Forget the semipsychotic
acts involving players and officials; think instead of the
collective insolence, the lack of discipline, the sheer anarchy
of recent times. Cedric Ceballos bolts from the Lakers to go
waterskiing. Rod Strickland leaves the Portland Trail Blazers
because he doesn't like his coach. Derrick Coleman flexes his
wallet and tells the New Jersey Nets he doesn't like their dress
code, and here's a blank check--fine away. Really,
Every player who ever made SportsCenter is now bigger than the
game itself, and coaches who once presumed to mold various egos
into a team are now fleeing into the night. Don Nelson is run
out of two coaching jobs, with the Warriors and the Knicks, when
the players quit on him. Doug Moe, highly successful for years,
says there's no way he would ever get back into coaching; the
players are too spoiled. Chaos becomes the rule, and the coaches
become caretakers, tiptoeing ever so gingerly past their
So when Rodman, the man who would chair the anarchists'
convention, became available last summer, the "no bad boys"
Bulls...made a grab. Krause, who prides himself on "never taking
a------s," sized up the Bulls' needs in the rebounding
department and suggested that Rodman drop by Chicago for an
interview. Rodman was aghast at the idea but went anyway for
what turned into a full-blown interrogation. The man who is as
famous for having been suspended in a playoff series as he is
for having dated Madonna met with both Krause and Jackson--for a
very long time.
Krause proved surprisingly sympathetic as Rodman, sitting on
Krause's back porch, overlooking a pond, unburdened himself.
Rodman told Krause, what it is, he has a sweating problem with
his feet. "Could you wear special socks?" Krause wondered, his
legendary crustiness dissolving at the sad story. He decided he
liked this kid, would not have a problem with him.
In fact, Krause knew it wasn't his problem, wouldn't ever be,
and he knew that all that mattered was whether Jackson could
control Rodman. Krause didn't worry about tattoos and body
piercing, either, not while the Bulls' rebounding needs were so
great. Phil will handle this. Krause on Phil: "We're a little
different. I go into a bookstore on the road and I'll see Phil,
and I guarantee you we're in different sections. But I always
say, if you have two people who think the same, fire one of
them. What do you need duplication for? Anyway, Phil's no
virgin. He's had his confrontations. He came from the CBA, so I
guess he knows about problem children."
Jackson examined Rodman, told him there are all kinds of
selfishness, even for a guy who prides himself on presumably
unselfish aspects of the game, such as rebounding and defense.
Jackson's only worry was that Rodman wouldn't buy into the team
What about possible discord, disruption? Jackson seems surprised
at the idea that this would have worried him. Those who know the
coach say he's not averse to confrontation. "He can pick up the
sword when he has to," says Rosen.
Players agree that Jackson's not one to cross. Things can get
frosty if his instructions are ignored. Bach remembers a timeout
when Jackson simply stood silent. "The message was pretty
clear," Bach says. "You're not listening, so solve it yourself."
"There's no question who's in charge," Kerr said earlier this
year. But Jackson hardly ever has to put his foot down. "One of
Phil's strong points is player relationships," Jordan said after
the Bulls traded for Rodman. "He'll call on a lot of that Zen
factor. He'll give Dennis space as long as Dennis knows he has
to play with the rest of the team."
"Oh, I never felt Dennis would cause an internal squabble,"
Jackson says. "Dennis knows he's got to perform, for the health
of his career. I knew that in the past most of his problems were
with management. The only thing I couldn't discount were
problems with officials. And look what happened. But as far as
confrontations, well, he's got things he needs to do that are
habitual or inner-driven, and I don't find that disrespectful.
We've got good leadership here, in Michael and Scottie, and I've
always been able to find a way to work things out. I don't think
I'd ever get upset about a player's shoes coming off."
It was characteristic of Jackson's style that when Rodman did,
inevitably, blow up and head-butt a referee in March, the coach
considered it a kind of karma clearance. Well, that's out of the
way. Jackson didn't make much of a peep, although several
teammates did jump on Rodman. Jackson wonders, "Don't you think
it's interesting, having Dennis around?"
Rosen predicts five championships for Jackson, although there is
not much time left; the coach promises to be gone in two years,
having done a full decade, and to move into something really
interesting--running Senator Bradley's presidential campaign is
one idea. This basketball thing, while it has appealed to his
competitive nature, has sometimes struck him as a perversion of
all his religious and philosophical principles. It brings the
forces of the cosmos to bear on events that are unusual only in
their insignificance. It's silly, really. Yet Jackson is
comforted for the moment, he tells himself, that Bulls
basketball is important to some, such as the old ladies who
write him and say they are cancer-riddled but won't die before
the season's out. It's unbelievable, of course, but there is
that thing about being in the moment.
Still, it's only a moment. The team will soon be given over to
some other coach, maybe more dogmatic, maybe militaristic like
Pat Riley, with his tables of hustle points and who knows what
else. It'll be different. The Lakota artifacts will come down,
and the Bulls will be neither as eccentric nor as soulful as
they once were.
But, for the moment, this moment, check them out. There's
Rodman, before a game, in his little cocoon of weirdness, his
eyes closed, all alone and listening to Pearl Jam on his
headphones. You wouldn't go near him if you could. But check him
out: He's meditating.