The AP reports that Phil Jackson won’t be returning to coach the Los Angeles Lakers next season: “Phil Jackson finished as Lakers coach.” Jackson’s phenomenal coaching record of nine NBA championships ties that of Red Auerbach; he missed the chance to surpass Auerbach when the Pistons stomped the Lakers in the championship series that concluded earlier this week.
Jackson seems to have been fired by the Lakers owner, Dr. Jerry Buss. I learned only this morning from reading the stories about Jackson’s departure from the Lakers that Jackson’s “longtime girlfriend” is Jeanie Buss, the boss’s daughter. Jeanie is the executive vice president of business operations for the Lakers. She said earlier this month that she believed there was a 95 percent chance Jackson would return as coach.
In November 2002 HBO’s Real Sports ran a profile of Jeanie Buss: “HBO’s Real Sports airs profile of Lakers VP/Business Jeanie Buss.” Real Sports reporter Armen Keteyian explored her relationship with Jackson:
“You could argue that there’s a huge or inherent conflict of interest with the owner’s daughter dating the coach of the team.” Buss: “How do you figure that?” Keteyian: “Well, how hard would it be for your dad to fire Phil, knowing that he’s dating you?” Buss laughed and said, “That would be understood. Someone asked me, ‘What would happen if your dad fired Phil?’ I’d see him and say, ‘Hey, bummer at the office. Where are we going to dinner?’ Our relationship isn’t about him being the coach. Our relationship is about two adults being together.”
Above is the photo of one of the two adults courtesy of the linked report on the Real Sports profile.
HINDROCKET adds: Hey, Trunk, you’re taking over my beat. I guess getting fired can have its consolations. Speaking of consolations, regular readers know that Deacon is a huge soccer fan, while I, like most Americans, don’t really get the sport’s appeal. But I’m starting to come around.