NBA: Playoffs-Los Angeles Lakers at Denver Nuggets
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Only two player-coaches have ever won championships – Can you name them?

The Los Angeles Lakers unsurprisingly fired head coach Darvin Ham after two seasons with the team. Both seasons ended with humiliating playoff series losses to the Denver Nuggets.

Now, the Lakers find themselves frantically searching for a new head coach with experience winning and someone who might entice star player LeBron James to sign an extension.

Former NBA player JJ Redick and Los Angeles Clippers head coach Ty Lue have been floated as possible candidates.

Our friends over at Sportsnaut indicate that former Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer, who led that team to an NBA championship in 2021, is rumored to be a top target.

But Byron Scott, a former member of the Lakers Showtime era in the ’80s, and a three-time NBA champion himself, believes the organization doesn’t have to look too far.

In fact, he believes the solution to their coaching problem is on the court.

NBA: Playoffs-Los Angeles Lakers at Denver Nuggets
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

RELATED: LeBron James’ Greatest, Most Memorable Games As A Laker

Coach LeBron James?

Scott, during an appearance on the Fox Sports show Undisputed, said LeBron James should coach the team next year.

“I got nothing but love and respect for LeBron. I love him,” said Scott.

“I think he’s one of the greatest players that ever played this game, but it’s obvious to me, at least, that he’s making a lot of decisions in this organization from a coaching standpoint to a player standpoint.”

He added, “As far as I’m concerned, the only person that he’s going to really trust is himself, and since you’re making a lot of these decisions anyway, why not put him in that seat?”

RELATED: LeBron James Criticized For Confronting Female Fan, Then Mocking Her After Being Called A ‘Crybaby’

Successful Basketball Player-Coaches

The first obvious response to Scott saying LeBron James is “making a lot of these decisions (as a coach) anyway” is: Why didn’t they win?

If James is capable of taking over as player-coach and he’s already effectively doing it, why did the other players not listen to him and cruise through the playoffs both seasons?

Then, of course, there is history.

Only two basketball player-coaches have ever won championships in that role. One, you probably know, the second, we’re guessing you’ll have to do a little research.

The great Bill Russell was a player-coach for the Boston Celtics between 1966 and 1969. The team won NBA championships in both ’68 and ’69.

So, who else?

Buddy Jeannette of the Baltimore Bullets. He was a player-coach for the Basketball Association of America (BAA) team from 1947-1950.

The Bullets defeated the Philadelphia Warriors in 1948 to win the BAA Finals. Jeannette is also a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player.

Can LeBron lead the Lakers to a championship the way these two men did? It doesn’t seem likely.

Follow Rusty on X

Mentioned in this article:

More about: