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Jun 29, 2010 1:16 PM by Derek Buerkle (KPAX News)

Lakers coach Phil Jackson returns to native Montana

Phil Jackson recently wrapped up another season the same way he usually does, coaching a team to an NBA title. And just like every other time, the "Zen Master" traveled back to his native Montana to recharge his batteries, while everyone else wonders if he'll come back to coach next season.

We caught up with him at the Western Governors Association Conference in Whitefish this weekend, and he says he still hasn't made up his mind.

"I think we played 114 games all told this year. So, with the travel, with the intensity of playoffs, it's something you have to really think about. My concern, to be quite blunt, is that I don't want to happen to me what happened to Denver this year, with George Karl."

Nuggets Head Coach George Karl was diagnosed with throat cancer during the season and had to step away from his team. Jackson says he will wait for his doctors to tell him if is in good enough shape before he makes a decision on next year.

The Lakers leader, born in Deer Lodge, always comes back to Montana after the season, and he credits the Treasure State for one big factor in his his success, stating, "Well, this has been a re-charging thing for me over the years. I think it's totally what's been able to sustain the energy I've had for the coming years. To come up here and grow a beard, let my hair down. Sit around and not have to do anything. Not put a suit on. Not put a tie on, a choking tie, and you know, just enjoy life."

Jackson also told us that he makes sure his contract allows him to spend a couple months in Montana every summer, while most NBA coaches only take about three or four weeks off.

Click here to read more about Jackson on NBA.com.

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