The Los Angeles Lakers are a franchise that has always been run as a family business, and as such, there is a feeling of personal connection with those who run the ship. The Buss children have grown up before the eyes of the basketball world, with a spotlight on all of them as they attempt to bring the Lakers back to the heights that their late father, Jerry, reached as owner.
Still, in spite of the pressure, some happiness has graced them, including the engagement of Jeanie, who serves as President of the Lakers, to Phil Jackson, who is currently President of the New York Knicks. The pair became engaged late in 2012, but unfortunately it appears that the relationship has now ended, as Jackson announced via Twitter:
— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) December 28, 2016
Jeanie would later respond to Jackson’s tweet saying that she couldn’t give her undivided attention to both Jackson and the Lakers:
The love of my life is the Los Angeles Lakers. I love Phil & will always. It's not fair to him or Lakers to not have my undivided attention
— Jeanie Buss (@JeanieBuss) December 28, 2016
Jackson, of course, has more championships than any head coach in history with 11 to his name, five of which came while he was at the helm of the Lakers. At one point, it appeared all but certain that Jackson would return to coach in Los Angeles again when the ill-fated quartet of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, and Dwight Howard was assembled, but the front office decided to go with Mike D’Antoni instead in a move that drove a wedge between Jeanie and her brother Jim, who is currently the Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Lakers.
Jackson accepted a position as President of the New York Knicks, though rumors have persisted that he has an eye to return to Los Angeles and be closer to Jeanie. The prevailing thought was that if the Lakers continued to struggle, Jeanie would fire her brother and bring Jackson in to replace him.
Of course, the end of their engagement likely squashes that rumor. Long-distance relationships are difficult, even for those who run NBA franchises. LN wishes the best for both Jeanie and Phil as they move forward.