Lakers' Jeanie Buss Blames Brother Jim for Breakup with Phil Jackson

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistOctober 5, 2017

Jeanie Buss, left, Los Angeles Lakers executive vice president of business operations, and former Lakers head coach Phil Jackson sit during the first half of their NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks, Tuesday, April 2, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss shared details about her relationship and breakup with Phil Jackson during an interview with Ramona Shelburne at the espnW Women + Sports Summit.

"He and I worked well together," she said, via Kavitha A. Davidson of espnW. "During that time, the 12 or so years that he coached the Lakers, I really got into the role of team mom, being the coach's wife. I got to see another side of basketball that I hadn't seen—that what Phil tries to create is a family."

However, Buss pointed to her brother Jim's decision to not hire Jackson back with the Lakers as one reason for their breakup because the head coach then took the president of basketball operations role with the New York Knicks.

"One way or the other, it was going to cost us our relationship," she said. "If he would have stayed home and had nothing to do, he would have driven me crazy."

Buss and Jackson were together for 17 years but ended their engagement last December.   

Rather than bring Jackson back to coach the Lakers after he led them to five championships, Jim Buss hired Mike D'Antoni in November 2012 after Mike Brown was fired after a 1-4 start.

The Knicks and Jackson parted ways in June after what can only be described as three disappointing seasons. New York went 80-166 during Jackson's tenure and struggled to accommodate his triangle offense that operated much smoother when all-time greats Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant were operating the controls on the Chicago Bulls and Lakers, respectively.

Jackson publicly criticized Carmelo Anthony as well, with the pairing never turning the corner in the standings.

The future looks brighter for Buss' Lakers, who have accumulated notable young talent in the form of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson in an effort to accelerate a rebuild.

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