Phil Jackson is engaged.
The NBA Hall of Fame coach popped the question to his longtime girlfriend, Lakers executive president Jeanie Buss. She announced the engagement on her Twitter account on Thursday night when she posted a picture of the ring on her hand and the caption, “Phil finally gave me that ring I wanted!”
Phil Jackson got engaged on Christmas Day TMZ reported. He may have wanted to get his married life started when his career failed to revive. Jackson was a top contender to reclaim his place on the Lakers bench earlier this year, but failed to get the job. The Lakers fired head coach Mike Brown early in the season and reportedly wanted Jackson, but suddenly and surprisingly picked Mike D’Antoni instead.
The miscommunication — Jackson said he was told the decision was up to him, but the Lakers picked D’Antoni before he had time to respond — caused a rift between Phil Jackson and his future brother-in-law. Jeanie is the sister of Lakers executive vice president Jim Buss, who was criticized by Jackson and his agent for the way he handled the job negotiations.
The Phil Jackson engagement comes as a bit of a surprise to some. The free spirit of a coach who earned the nickname Zen Master for his embrace of eastern philosophies reportedly wasn’t too keen on marriage. Jeanie Buss told Forbes in 2011:
“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.”
Now that Phil Jackson is engaged, it appears he’s put his coaching days behind him. Though the Brooklyn Nets were reportedly interested in him, Jackson said his chances of returning to the NBA are slim to none.