The Knicks have been known to be coach killers in the past. As they begin to shed that label a bit this season with first-year coach Jeff Hornacek, it appears that they have morphed into marriage killers.
New York Knicks president Phil Jackson and Lakers president and co-owner Jeanie Buss have separated after a long engagement, according to a joint statement Jackson posted to his verified Twitter account on Tuesday night.
“With mutual love and respect, we have decided to end our engagement,” the statement began. “With the nature of our professional obligations and the geographic distance between us, sustaining the relationship has been difficult. We have shared many wonderful moments through the years, and we expect to remain supportive of each other.”
Buss later tweeted from her verified account, referencing Jackson, “Nothing but love and respect for this man.”
In a follow-up tweet, Buss wrote, “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.”
The NBAs No. 1 power couple made it last for 17 years despite being business competitors and big wigs for mega corporations on completely different coasts.
In a recent interview with ESPN senior writer Jackie MacMullan, Jackson said of his cross-country relationship with Buss: “It’s hard. Very hard. It’s hard to keep a house out there. I’ve got eight grandchildren in the Bay Area. FaceTime has really helped me.”
Speculation surfaced in recent months about the possibility of Jackson opting out of his Knicks responsibilities and taking a gig in LA to be closer to Buss, but that is obviously not necessary now.
While it is certainly a downer for Phil, Knicks fans will be content to know that Jackson has more time to focus on the Knicks and make building the franchise into a champion again his top priority.