Deion Sanders Is A Lot Like Phil Jackson, According To Shaq

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We’re just three games into Deion Sanders’ time with the Colorado Buffaloes. Still, the team’s early season success has been a fertile ground for the occasional hot take. Shaquille O’Neal — you may know him as DJ Diesel — had one of his own. He said that Sanders reminds him of none other than legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson, a man Shaq knows well.

Shaq was speaking with the TMZ Sports TV show for an episode set to air Tuesday on FS1. In the interview, he made the interesting comparison.

He said it all stemmed from one brief camera shot of Coach Prime during the Buffaloes 43-35 double-OT win over Colorado State.

“When they were down 15, there was a camera that panned to Deion’s face, and it reminded me of Phil Jackson. And I’ve always said, if the general doesn’t panic, the troops don’t panic,” the legendary NBA big man said, before going on to call Sanders the best coach in college football.

Well, that’s certainly some high praise.

Shaq Said Deion Sanders’ Arrival In Colorado Reminds Him Of When The Lakers Hired Phil Jackson

Shaq said he knows what the Colorado players are experiencing, and recalled the early days of Jackson’s time with the Lakers.

“I know exactly what the kids are going through because when you are standing in front of someone that has an impressive resume, and you’re trying to get to the level he get to, everything you say is golden,” O’Neal said. “I felt that way when Phil Jackson first came to the Lakers.

“Before he got there, me and Kobe, we got swept all the time. But when hel came there and stepped in the locker room and we saw he didn’t panic, so it taught us not to panic. We know that this guy knows what he’s talking about.”

Jackson’s calm-cool sensibility under pressure (befitting of a big Grateful Dead fan) is a big asset for a coach. Sanders appears to have something similar. Shaq said he knows that when Sanders speaks to the offensive, defense, or even his own kids, “they’re locked in.”

Coach Prime will need that kind of calm, cool demeanor as the Buffaloes‘ schedule ramps up. Conference play gets underway this weekend when the team heads to Eugene for a date with the Oregon Ducks.

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Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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