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Published August 17, 2013, 01:41 PM

Phil Jackson returns to ND hometown for reunion

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson has returned to his hometown of Williston for his 50th high school reunion and a baseball tournament but he barely recognized the place.

By: Associated Press, Associated Press

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson has returned to his hometown of Williston for his 50th high school reunion and a baseball tournament but he barely recognized the place.

The northwest North Dakota town is the epicenter of the state's oil boom and looks nothing like it did when Jackson last visited there 20 years ago.

"It's hard to recognize," Jackson told the Williston Herald. "It was a sleeper town then and it's hyperactive now."

The 13-year-old Babe Ruth World Series begins Saturday in Williston. Jackson says it's a "great thing" for his hometown to be hosting the tournament.

He plans on speaking at a banquet at the tournament and he also will be meeting with former classmates.

"It's my 1963 class reunion," Jackson said. "So I will be dancing."

Jackson was a four-sport althlete at Williston High. In addition to basketball, Jackson also played baseball, football and threw the discus.

He played basketball at the University of North Dakota and logged 13 seasons in the NBA, including 11 with the New York Knicks. As a coach, he led the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers to multiple titles.

Jackson said he maintains close relationships with many of his former schoolmates in Williston.

"There's been a number of them, mostly guys," he said. "We usually have a yearly get away."

Jackson said learned plenty during his time growing up in Williston.

"A lot of life lessons were learned in this town," he said.

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