Phil Jackson and Lakers EVP Jeanie Buss get engaged
By Ben Golliver
Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson and longtime girlfriend, Lakers executive vice president Jeanie Buss, are engaged.
Buss announced the development on her Twitter account on Thursday night by posting a photo of a massive diamond ring on her left ring finger with the message, “Phil finally gave me that ring I wanted!”
Jackson, 67, won two title as a player and added 11 rings as a coach, including five with the Lakers. Buss, 51, is the daughter of Lakers owner Jerry Buss and the sister of executive vice president Jim Buss.
Jeanie Buss told Forbes in 2011 that the couple had dated for more than a decade but that Jackson wasn’t particularly keen on the idea of marriage.
I wanted to get married. That’s who I am. Phil is of a generation that probably would have been happier never getting married. He just doesn’t want to get married again; it’s not that he doesn’t want to marry me. It took me awhile to understand that, and I’m fine with it now. We’ve been together over 10 years. This relationship has been my longest and most successful. So I’m very happy.
Back in November, Jackson was linked in rumors to a return to the Lakers bench after former coach Mike Brown was fired following a 1-4 start. Jim Buss and Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak reportedly met with Jackson before hiring Mike D’Antoni. Jim Buss became the target of serious criticism from Jackson’s agent and longtime assistant Kurt Rambis for the Lakers’ handling of the negotiations. Lakers legend Magic Johnson also called out Jim Buss for making “critical mistakes” in hiring Brown and D’Antoni over Jackson.
Jackson, who has been retired since 2011, has said that the possibilities of a return to coaching are “slim and none.” That hasn’t stopped his name from popping up in rumors linking him to the Nets, who fired coach Avery Johnson and appointed assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo as an interim coach in December.