Phil Jackson and longtime girlfriend Jeanie Buss are engaged. The couple have been together for more than 14 years and, although no date has been yet announced, the wedding is expected to be a star-studded affair.
Jeanie Buss announced the engagement to Jackson on Thursday via Twitter. The tweet said: “Twitter family -- Phil finally gave me that ring I wanted! :-).”
Buss attached a photograph of the diamond ring Jackson gave her to the tweet. Jackson coached the Los Angeles Lakers from 1999 to 2004 and again from 2005 until 2011. He won five NBA Championships with the team.
Buss, who is the executive vice president of the Lakers, is the daughter of Jerry Buss, owner of team. Her brother, Jim Buss, is the team president. Jackson and Buss have been dating since 1999, and the couple was engaged over the holidays, ESPN said.
Buss said that she was hesitant about announcing the engagement. “I knew people who followed me on Twitter cared about it and I've been wearing the ring since Christmas, so I figured I should let people know,” she told ESPN, Los Angeles. While Buss will add a ring to her finger, Jackson will have to make room on his own -- he has won 11 NBA championships as a coach and two as a player.
The marriage reportedly has the approval of Jerry Buss. The couple shares a home near the Lakers corporate headquarters in El Segundo. Speaking about Jackson as a man, not as a coach, Jeanie Buss said in a 2011 interview with ESPNLosAngeles: “If you would've asked me if he was the typical guy I would date, I would've said, 'Never.' I didn't see it coming. But he just bowled me over. There was just something about him.”
Jackson had expected to become the Lakers coach early in the 2012 NBA season -- after Mike Brown was fired after five games; however, management hired Mike D’Antoni as the head coach, stunning Jackson and Lakers fans.
Over his coaching career, Jackson has coached some of the best players ever in the game, including Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe.